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British Council

Volume 979: debated on Tuesday 19 February 1980

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asked the Lord Privy Seal what decision has been taken on the future level of funding for the British Council.

As I told the hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Horley) on 14 November—[Vol 973, c. 630]—the level of funding of the British Council from Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Overseas Development Administration Grants was reduced by £5·2 million for 1980–81. The Government have now decided that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Overseas Development Administration grants to the Council should be progressively reduced by a further £3·9 million over the three years 1981–2 to 1983–4.The grants from Overseas Development Administration include a provision (of £5·4 million in 1980–81 at 1979 prices) to cover the costs to the Council of ad-administering schemes financed by the Overseas Development Administration from the aid programme. The scale of these schemes in future years has still to be determined in the light of the future level of the aid programme and the way it is used. If there is a reduction in the Council's aid administration work a further reduction in this element of Overseas Development Administration funding would be necessary.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if, in the light of the importance of export market for the United Kingdom in Brazil, Japan, Nigeria and Venezuela, he will ensure that British Council activities are in no way reduced in those countries.

There can be no prior exemption of any area from the present examination which is being undertaken of the British Council's recurrent budget. But any reduction in activities in specific countries would need to be agreed between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, including the Overseas Development Administration, and the British Council in the light of agreed priorities.