HC Deb 12 February 2004 vol 417 c1653W
Sir Menzies Campbell

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his answer of 3 February 2004,Official Report, column 844W, if he will list payments made by the United Kingdom Government to the Governments of (a) Uzbekistan, (b) Turkmenistan, (c) Kazakhstan, (d) Kyrgyzstan, (e) Pakistan, (f) Georgia and (g) Azerbaijan since 1999–2000, broken down by purpose; and if he will make a statement. [154546]

Mr. Straw

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) only holds information about payments made to the Governments mentioned through FCO accounts.

The following sums have been paid to the High Commission of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in London in respect of refunds of VAT paid on items purchased for official use:

26 October 1999 Computing equipment 214.82
30 November 1999 Furniture 8,483.71
22 March 2001 Electrical/wiring materials 1,810.36
22 March 2001 Electrical/wiring materials 1,957.41
19 June 2001 Electrical/wiring materials 708.77
25 November 2003 Building materials 50,027.77
22 January 2004 Building materials 115,105.00

Refunds of VAT on purchases of British manufactured goods (over £50) are made to Commonwealth missions, the Embassy of Ireland and the Commonwealth Secretariat. The concession dates back to the 1940s, at that time applying to Purchase Tax. It continued after the introduction of VAT in 1973 on the grounds of preserving customary practice.

The FCO has not made any payments to the other Governments listed during this period.

Payments will have been made at UK posts overseas to the Governments of these countries. However, this information is not held centrally, and can be obtained from posts only at disproportionate cost.

This answer covers only expenditure incurred by the FCO and not by HMG as a whole.

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