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Press: Finance

Volume 461: debated on Monday 4 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much funding her Department provided to the Foreign Press Corps in the latest period for which figures are available; what conditions were attached to such funding; and what the purpose was of such funding. (138429)

[holding answer 21 May 2007]: Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) funding for the Foreign Press Corps is channelled through the Foreign Press Association (FPA). The FPA is an independent professional body representing foreign journalists working in the UK. FCO funding is in support of the 2005 recommendation by Lord Carter of Cole that foreign correspondents require a better service from across Whitehall departments.

FCO funding is, therefore, aimed at assisting the FPA: to act as a central point through which the Government can efficiently disseminate news and information about Britain to a global audience; and to achieve financial self-sustainability. Funding is now solely project-based and in the last financial year (2006-07) the FCO contributed £124,875. In addition, in January 2006, the FCO and the FPA signed a memorandum of understanding in which the FPA agreed to implement a reform programme designed to make it financially independent, more responsive and focused on the working needs of its membership.