HL Deb 01 February 2000 vol 609 cc24-5WA
Lord Orme

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the relationship between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Commonwealth Institute. [H L846]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal

The Commonwealth Institute ceased to be a Non-Departmental Public Body, under the direction of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, on 31 December 1999. This was a Commonwealth Institute initiative. Its new status is that of an independent charity, in the form of a company limited by guarantee. I am arranging for copies of the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the new body to be placed in the Library of the House.

Under the terms of its agreement with the Commonwealth Institute, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is investing £8.055 million in a severance package in 1999–00 and 2000–01. The funding will restore and develop the building, support new programmes and provide the institute with financial stability while its plans take effect.

This development means that the Imperial Institute Act 1925 and the Commonwealth Institute Act 1958 need to be repealed, and we shall be seeking that this be done as soon as possible.

I wish the institute well as it becomes a pan-Commonwealth agency dedicated to promoting the Commonwealth.