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British Council

Volume 987: debated on Thursday 3 July 1980

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asked the Lord Privy Seal what effects reductions in Government support have had on the level of United Kingdom staff of the British Council and the extent of its cultural activities in the United Kingdom; and if he will reduce further the support for British Council activity in the United Kingdom.

As a result of public expenditure reductions in 1980–81, the British Council's establishment in the United Kingdom has been reduced by 336 posts. The British Council has no cultural programmes within the United Kingdom apart from a small programme connected with its overseas students' centre in London. The British Council's activity in the United Kingdom is in support of its overseas responsibilities, particularly the placing of overseas students in British educational institutions.Government financial support provided the British Council with a core budget in 1979–80 of £46·6 million. This support will be reduced progressively to a figure of £38 million by 1983–84 (at 1979 survey prices), a level which has been accepted by the council's board. As a result, further reductions in staff are inevitable. It is for the British Council to decide how the reduced budgetary target will be achieved and this is now under consideration for 1981–82 onwards. No decisions have yet been taken, but one option available would be a reduction in the size of the British Council's network of regional offices in the United Kingdom. One office was closed on 30 June 1980 as part of the 1980–81 reductions.