HL Deb 26 June 1995 vol 565 cc36-7WA
Lord Fanshawe of Richmond

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the total number of staff employed in the Queen's Messenger Service; the cost of messengers travelling overseas and administering staff in the United Kingdom; the total cost as a percentage of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Vote; and whether they will give an assurance that there are no plans to replace the service with a secure fax or similar system.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey

The current complement of Queen's Messengers is 27 including a superintendent and 2 messenger escorts.

The 1995/6 estimate for the cost of travel overseas is £2.25 million. Staff administration costs for 1995/6 are estimated to be approximately £780,600. The total cost of the service as a percentage of the 1995/6 FCO vote is 0.25 per cent.

The Cabinet Office Protective Security Review of 1993, covering security policy and practices, has prompted the FCO to look at the way in which despatch of mails to overseas posts is carried out. As part of this exercise the FCO is also looking at the future structure of the Queen's Messenger Service.