HC Deb 08 March 1996 vol 273 c392W
Ms Armstrong

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what assessment he has made of the impact on British economic and trade interests resulting from the closure of operations by the British Council in some countries following the reductions in its budget; [19604]

(2) if he discussed with the British Council the effects of the total closure of activities in some countries, and the closure of branch offices and libraries elsewhere following the reductions in its grant funding over the next three years; and if he will make a statement; [19605]

(3) what progress is being made to alleviate the impact of the reduction in the FCO grants in aid to the British Council. [19615]

Mr. Hanley

The council and its board, of which the hon. Lady is a member, are considering how best to adjust their programme and activities to the financial allocations announced in the 1995 budget. The council intends to alleviate the impact of reductions in grant in aid in various ways including through efficiency savings. We will carefully assess proposals made by the council with a view to ensuring that these have the least possible impact on overall British interests.

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