HC Deb 24 January 2002 vol 378 cc998-9W
Mr. Bercow

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was spent by(a) his Department and (b) bodies for which it is responsible on external public relations consultants in each of the last four years. [27396]

Mr. MacShane

The total expenditure by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on external public relations consultants in the last four years was:

2001–02 160,904
2000–01 347,857
1999–2000 0
1998–99 59,337
1 Financial year to date

The bulk of the expenditure in 2000–01 relates to the "Know Before You Go" public awareness campaign aimed at encouraging UK travellers to be better prepared when travelling overseas.

Among the FCO' s executive non-departmental public bodies, only the British Council has engaged such consultants in the same period. The costs were:

2001–02 120,925
2000–01 4,650
1999–2000 3,256
1998–99 214,901
1 Taking December 2001 as the last month

The figure for 1998–99 includes costs connected with the British Council's "Vision" project. The project looked at re-defining the Council's purpose and strategic direction and examining its visual identity.