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Departments: Redundancy

Volume 457: debated on Tuesday 6 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was spent on (a) involuntary and (b) voluntary staff exit schemes in (i) her Department and (ii) each agency of the Department in each year since 1997-98; how much is planned to be spent for 2007-08; and if she will make a statement. (123925)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has spent the following sums on compensation for early retirement each year since 1997.

£

1997-98

2,825,000

1998-99

3,315,000

1999-2000

3,802,000

2000-01

1,871,000

2001-02

1,805,000

2002-03

3,194,000

2003-04

3,878,000

2004-05

4,955,000

2005-06

14,801,000

2006-071

8,895,000

2007-081

11,641,000

1 The figures for 2006-07 and 2007-08 are provisional estimates.

We have not been able to identify what sums, if any, within this total were spent on involuntary departures. To check individual records for this purpose would incur disproportionate cost. It is our policy to do all we can to avoid or minimise compulsory redundancies.

All payments have been made in accordance with the provisions of the civil service compensation schemes. As a result of the 2004 spending round we have carried out a restructuring exercise since 2004 to realise efficiency savings. This early retirement programme will enable us to reduce the size of the senior management structure in the FCO by 18 per cent. by 31 March 2008.