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Diplomatic And Consular Offices (Rates)

Volume 986: debated on Monday 16 June 1980

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asked the Lord Privy Seal what is his best estimate of (a) the current annual value of local rates payable to local authorities in the United Kingdom in respect of diplomatic and consular offices, respectively, and (b) the current annual value of equivalent taxes payable by British diplomatic consular missions, respectively.

(a) The British Government paid approximately £7·8 million to local authorities during the financial year ended 31 March 1980 in respect of all premises in the United Kingdom occupied for diplomatic and consular purposes. Approximately 75 per cent. of this figure relates to offices and the remainder to official residences. It is not possible to provide separate figures for diplomatic and consular premises since in London both these functions are often performed in the same building.Between 15 per cent. and 20 per cent. of the above figure was reclaimed by the British Government from diplomatic missions, since this is deemed to represent payment for services from which they derive direct benefit.(

b) It is difficult to equate our rating system with "equivalent taxes" in other countries, in which host Governments bear a large proportion of the cost. However, in the financial year ended 31 March 1980 the amount paid by the British Government in respect of British diplomatic and consular missions overseas was £237,580 of which £32,580 was in respect of offices and the remainder for residential accommodation.