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Diplomatic Service: Official Cars

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 27 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will give guidance to UK consulates on the procurement of UK-built cars for ambassadors and staff. (189606)

The procurement of vehicles for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is based on achieving value for money, normally by competition and in a manner that conforms with appropriate UK regulations and EU directives. Within that approach, we prefer British missions abroad to buy British cars for heads of posts, where they are readily available and represent value for money.

Currently, the FCO's preferred suppliers for vehicles, used by its heads of posts, are Jaguar for saloon cars and Land or Range Rover where four wheel drive capability is essential. This arrangement is supported by central contracts with those companies, which have been negotiated against strict value for money criteria. Posts which consider that there are overriding reasons on either value for money, security or maintenance grounds not to purchase flag cars manufactured by our preferred suppliers must submit a detailed case for ministerial approval.

Pool cars for day to day operational use by staff at posts are sourced locally on the basis of value for money taking into account the full cost of ownership, including local maintenance and spares issues.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library a list of cars used by UK ambassadors and staff; and how many of the cars were built in the UK. (189607)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in the UK operates 20 cars, these are used by FCO Services staff in both the Hanslope Park fleet operations area and by London car service/London external messengers operating from King Charles street, details are as follows:

12 Fords manufactured in Portugal;

1 Rover manufactured in the UK;

1 Toyota manufactured in the UK; and

6 Vauxhalls manufactured in Germany and Spain.

Since the acquisition of vehicles in the overseas fleet is the responsibility of the individual posts, and detailed records are not held centrally, it would incur disproportionate cost to collate the information requested by my hon. Friend. We are, however, aware of 381 Land Rovers operated by FCO posts overseas, and all of these vehicles have been manufactured in the UK.