HC Deb 19 November 1951 vol 494 cc29-30
53. Mr. Robson Brown

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will give early consideration to the desirability of curtailing the activities of the British Council or, alternatively, winding it up.

Mr. Eden

The scope and activities of the British Council are determined by the amount of funds at their disposal, and their expenditure from public funds is reviewed annually. Their Estimates for the next financial year are now being prepared and will be examined in common with all other forms of public expenditure, with a view to ensuring the utmost economy.

Mr. Edelman

Is it not the case that the British Council is doing a very good job on a very small budget and will not the right hon. Gentleman do whatever he can to sustain and strengthen the Council in future?

Mr. Eden

It certainly is the case that the budget has already been drastically reduced—by 40 per cent.—in the last few years.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

If it is doing a very good job on a very small budget, why did it waste £500 on the most appalling example of modern art which has ever been produced?