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British Council

Volume 973: debated on Wednesday 14 November 1979

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asked the Lord Privy Seal (1) what redundancy terms will be offered to locally recruited staff of the British Council overseas who are dismissed as a result of public expenditure cuts;(2) how many British Council staff are currently serving in countries in Africa; and how many are likely to be dismissed as a result of cuts in public expenditure;(3) what reductions will be made in British Council staff in the United Kingdom as a result of public expenditure cuts;(4) what reductions will be made to British Council staff in India as a result of public expenditure cuts;(5) what reductions will be made in the services offered to overseas students in the United Kingdom as a result of cuts in British Council expenditure.

It was announced on 1 November that reductions in Government grants to the British Council in 1980–81 total £5·2 million, consisting of:

£3 million grant-in-aid from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office;
£2·2 million in grants from the Overseas Development Administration.
Redundancy terms for locally engaged staff overseas vary from country to country according to local laws and conditions of service. A total of 81 United Kingdom-appointed and 454 locally engaged British Council staff are currently serving in countries of Africa; these numbers will be reduced by seven United Kingdom-appointed and 31 locally engaged posts. In India there will be a reduction of one United Kingdom-appointed post; the reduction in locally engaged staff is still under consideration but is likely to be in the region of 15 to 20 posts. In the United Kingdom there will be a reduction of 336 Council posts although involuntary redundancies will number less than 20.The Council's services to students in this country are likely to be affected as follows:

  • (a) current expectations are that six of the 25 British Council United Kingdom regional offices which provide services for students will be closed although the timing has yet to be decided. Students will be able to make use of the remaining offices;
  • (b) the London overseas students centre will continue to operate but at a reduced level;
  • (c) the Council's accommodation service to students will continue but will be reduced;
  • (d) the Council's services to private students will be phased out.