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Diplomats (Cars)

Volume 931: debated on Monday 9 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when, and by what means, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has sought or obtained parliamentary approval for the provision of interest-free loans to members of the Diplomatic Service for the purchase of cars.

The scheme for the provision of these loans has been in existence since November 1948, when it was authorised by the Treasury. So far as available records reveal, it was not submitted for parliamentary approval then or on any subsequent occasion. The car loans are now authorised in Diplomatic Service Regulations under the powers granted to the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary—in the Order in Council of 20th November 1964 which established Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service—to make regulations on salaries and allowances with the concurrence of what is now the Civil Service Department. I am not satisfied that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has properly followed the rules of Government accounting on the matter of these loans. I have instructed officials to discuss the matter urgently with the Treasury and will inform my hon. Friend of the outcome as soon as possible.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the maximum loan available to each rank in the Diplomatic Service for the purchase of a car.

The maximum loans at present available are as follows:

Grade 10 and Secretarial Grades£1,392
Grade 9£1,416
Grades 7 and 8 (Second and Third Secretaries)£1,872
Grade 6 (First Secretary) and above£2,304