HC Deb 17 May 1968 vol 764 cc290-1W
Mr. Sheldon

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the annual cost of United Kingdom representation in both foreign and Commonwealth countries; what is the foreign exchange cost; and how these figures compare with the cost over the period 1920 to 1938 and 1950 to 1959, inclusive.

Mr. Mulley

The annual cost of representation in foreign and Commonwealth countries as shown in the 1968–69 Estimates of the Diplomatic Service is £46,897,030. The proportion of this amount spent overseas is estimated at £23,300,000.

The average annual total of the Estimates for the Foreign Office, Dominions Office and the Department of Overseas Trade in the period 1920–38 was £1,890,000. The average annual total of the Foreign Office, Commonwealth Relations Office, and Board of Trade (Trade Commissioner Service) Votes over the period 1950–59 was £16,900,000. In 1959, the total of actual expenditure on these Votes was rather under £21,000,000. Figures are not available for the proportion of the Departmental expenditure spent overseas for the period before 1960.

The Diplomatic Service Vote now covers expenditure on representation in 126 countries and international organisations, as compared with 92 in 1958 and less than 50 in 1931. In addition, this Vote now includes expenditure which was included in the Votes of other Departments in the earlier periods. The present Vote is not, therefore, comparable with the figures for earlier periods given above.