§ 24. Mr. Ian Bruce
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the proportion of the budget for United Kingdom overseas missions currently devoted to promoting trade and commercial relations; and what was the position in 1979.
§ Mr. Goodlad
Commercial work, including export promotion and inward investment, is the FCO's largest single activity overseas, accounting for 23 per cent. of the cost of running overseas missions or 30 per cent. of frontline staff. This is broadly the same level as in 1989, the first year in which comparable data were available. With the help of efficiency savings, including a programme to reduce staff and costs in support areas, the FCO is planning to create over 100 additional commercial staff slots in posts overseas during 1995, an increase of over 9 per cent. in frontline commercial staff.