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Diplomatic Missions

Volume 201: debated on Tuesday 14 January 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley of 6 December, Official Report, column 261, what is the reason in each case for the closure of diplomatic posts; what is the total financial saving; what representations he has received regarding the closure of any of the posts; whether any further consideration has been given to decisions in each case; and if he will make a statement.

All the posts listed in the reply to the hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley were closed in order to release resources for redeployment to meet new priorities.I cannot give a figure for the total financial saving over the 10 years in question. But it would have cost in the region of £12·4 million this year to maintain these posts were they all still open. The savings realised have significantly helped us to maintain a global diplomatic presence, and to open some 10 new posts, despite the significant public expenditure pressures on the diplomatic service over the period. Closing any post is inevitably difficult and is never decided lightly. But it is right that resources should be redeployed to meet new challenges and priorities.