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Diplomatic Missions and International Organisations: Debts

Volume 651: debated on Tuesday 18 December 2018

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has held meetings with a number of missions about outstanding parking fine debt, outstanding national non-domestic rates payments and unpaid congestion charge debt. The director of protocol raises the issue in his introductory meetings with all new ambassadors and high commissioners whose missions are in debt to the relevant authorities. FCO officials also press diplomatic missions and international organisations to pay outstanding fines and debts. Earlier this year, protocol directorate wrote to diplomatic missions and international organisations concerned giving them the opportunity to either pay their outstanding debts, or appeal against specific fines if they considered that they had been issued incorrectly.

Parking fines: In 2017, 4,737 parking fines incurred by diplomatic missions and international organisations in London were brought to our attention by local councils, Transport for London and the City of London. These totalled £444,618.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has held meetings with missions which have substantial outstanding parking fine debts. In addition, in May this year we wrote to diplomatic missions and international organisations concerned giving them the opportunity either to pay their outstanding fines or appeal against them if they considered that the fines had been issued incorrectly.

Subsequent payments (including amounts waived by the above authorities) totalled £173,443. There remains a total of £271,175 in unpaid fines for 2017.

The table below details those diplomatic missions and international organisations which have outstanding fines from 2017 totalling £1,000 or more, as of 31 July 2018.

Diplomatic Mission/International Organisation 2017

Amount of Outstanding Fines (excluding congestion charge)

High Commission for the Federal Republic of Nigeria

£39,225

High Commission for the Republic of Zambia

£20,450

Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia

£18,535

Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

£12,920

Embassy of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire

£11,145

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

£10,885

Embassy of the United Arab Emirates

£10,825

Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman

£9,650

Malaysian High Commission

£8,965

Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan

£8,735

Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan

£7,885

Embassy of Libya

£7,075

Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan

£6,890

Embassy of France

£4,960

Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

£4,485

Embassy of the State of Qatar

£4,055

Embassy of the Republic of Iraq

£3,685

People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria

£3,010

Embassy of the Republic of Liberia

£2,940

Office of the High Commissioner for India

£2,835

High Commission for Sierra Leone

£2,445

Embassy of the State of Kuwait

£2,415

Embassy of the People's Republic of China

£2,290

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania

£2,090

High Commission for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

£2,030

Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia

£2,005

Embassy of Romania

£1,785

Embassy of the Russian Federation

£1,770

Embassy of the Republic of Angola

£1,750

Royal Thai Embassy

£1,625

Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan

£1,510

Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

£1,320

Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria

£1,210

Embassy of Georgia

£1,210

Embassy of Ukraine

£1,200

Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan

£1,120

High Commission of the United Republic of Tanzania

£1,070

National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR):

The majority of diplomatic missions in the United Kingdom pay the national non-domestic rates (NNDR) due from them. Diplomatic missions and international organisations are obliged to pay only 6% of the total NNDR value of their offices. This represents payment for specific services received such as street cleaning and street lighting.

Representations by protocol directorate of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to missions in 2018 led to the settlement of outstanding debts by a number of missions.

As at 20 September 2018, the total amount of outstanding NNDR payments, due before 31 December 2017, owed by foreign diplomatic missions and international organisations as advised by the Valuation Office Agency is £1,507,576, an increase of 43% over the 2016 figure, as reported in the 2017 WMS (£1,049,999). However, £73,589 of this outstanding debt is owed by Syria—which is not currently represented in the UK and we have therefore been unable to pursue this debt. Three missions are responsible for over a fifth of the remainder. We shall continue to urge those with NNDR debt to pay their dues.

The missions listed below owed over £10,000 in respect of NNDR.

Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan

£137,122

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran

£123,570

Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe

£101,694

Embassy of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria

£74,933

Embassy of Libya

£76,304

High Commission for Sierra Leone

£67,573

High Commission for the Republic of Zambia

£56,325

Embassy of the Republic of Iraq

£55,015

Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt

£53,977

Uganda High Commission

£44,489

Embassy of the Republic of Angola

£38,074

Malaysian High Commission

£37,793

High Commission for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

£36,560

Embassy of the Republic of Liberia

£32,806

High Commission for the Republic of Cameroon

£32,196

Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

£35,061

Embassy of the Republic of Albania

£26,831

High Commission for the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

£26,278

Embassy of Ukraine

£23,602

Embassy of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire

£22,602

The Commonwealth Secretariat

£18,496

Embassy of the State of Qatar

£17,573

Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania

£12,143

London Congestion Charge: The value of unpaid congestion charge debt incurred by diplomatic missions and international organisations in London since its introduction in February 2003 until 31 December 2017 as advised by Transport for London (TfL) was £110,069,300. The table below shows those diplomatic missions and international organisations with outstanding fines of £100,000 or more. FCO officials continue to press diplomatic missions to pay congestion charge and any other outstanding debts. The director of protocol raises the issue in his introductory meetings with all new ambassadors and high commissioners whose missions are in debt to TfL. Officials also write to diplomatic missions and international organisations with large congestion charge debts to encourage payment.

Country

Number of fines

Total outstanding

Embassy of the United States of America

99,150

£11,925,920

Embassy of Japan

66,783

£8,021,190

High Commission for the Federal Republic of Nigeria

56,085

£6,724,405

Embassy of the Russian Federation

48,136

£5,653,955

Office of the High Commissioner for India

43,940

£5,394,580

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany

36,770

£4,288,680

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China

34,256

£4,337,295

Embassy of the Republic of Poland

33,350

£4,065,250

Office of the High Commissioner for Ghana

30,080

£3,655,695

Embassy of the Republic of Sudan

27,016

£3,160,730

Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan

25,281

£3,116,930

High Commission for Kenya

21,729

£2,569,330

Embassy of France

18,188

£2,172,845

High Commission for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

17,010

£2,105,395

High Commission for the United Republic of Tanzania

16,621

£1,945,100

Embassy of Spain

16,112

£1,927,350

Embassy of the Republic of Korea

15,527

£1,907,655

Embassy of the Republic of Cuba

13,442

£1,650,310

Embassy of Algeria

13,395

£1,590,040

High Commission for the Republic of South Africa

13,359

£1,555,650

Embassy of Romania

13,327

£1,581,930

High Commission for Sierra Leone

12,535

£1,470,390

Embassy of Greece

12,093

£1,428,025

Embassy of Ukraine

12,014

£1,412,810

Embassy of Hungary

9,314

£1,118,250

High Commission for the Republic of Cyprus

8,971

£1,081,995

High Commission for the Republic of Zambia

7,840

£928,580

Embassy of the Republic of Yemen

7,700

£919,630

Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria

6,971

£812,180

High Commission for the Republic of Cameroon

6,069

£712,515

Embassy of the Republic of Belarus

5,877

£691,840

High Commission for Botswana

5,832

£710,440

High Commission for the Republic of Malawi

5,803

£694,645

High Commission for the Republic of Mozambique

5,535

£660,870

Embassy of the Slovak Republic

5,522

£644,985

Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

5,429

£634,600

High Commission for the Republic of Namibia

5,380

£602,145

Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe

5,350

£606,395

High Commission for Kingdom of Swaziland

5,175

£602,440

Embassy of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire

4,979

£594,655

Embassy of the Republic of Turkey

4,926

£606,645

High Commission for Malta

4,723

£574,890

Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania

4,617

£556,695

Embassy of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea

4,493

£527,795

Embassy of Austria

4,481

£538,875

High Commission for Mauritius

4,434

£521,990

High Commission for the Kingdom of Lesotho

4,087

£479,600

Embassy of the Republic of Liberia

4,045

£492,485

Uganda High Commission

4,026

£483,530

Embassy of Belgium

3,661

£438,575

Embassy of the Czech Republic

3,602

£418,780

Embassy of the Republic of Guinea

3,574

£181,630

Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

3,471

£411,520

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

3,440

£409,465

High Commission for Jamaica

3,080

£368,945

Royal Danish Embassy

3,049

£365,045

Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco

2,953

£377,535

Embassy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

2,839

£353,530

Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan

2,729

£351,005

High Commission for the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

2,724

£344,725

Embassy of Tunisia

2,613

£322,495

Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt

2,300

£243,220

Embassy of Portugal

2,297

£282,130

Embassy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

2,249

£259,380

Embassy of the Republic of Latvia

2,247

£271,850

Embassy of Finland

2,224

£266,550

Embassy of the Republic of Iraq

2,206

£280,190

High Commission for Antigua & Barbuda

2,151

£255,060

Embassy of Luxembourg

2,029

£244,770

Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia

2,009

£245,590

Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

1,826

£200,150

High Commission for Belize

1,779

£220,740

Embassy of Estonia

1,455

£180,115

Embassy of the State of Eritrea

1,266

£150,530

Embassy of the Dominican Republic

1,231

£147,690

High Commission for Guyana

1,186

£139,635

The Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the International Maritime Organisation

1,095

£80,510

High Commission for the Republic of the Maldives

1,074

£132,445

High Commission for Seychelles

1,052

£128,005

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania

1,025

£109,050

Embassy of El Salvador

964

£115,330

Embassy of the Republic of Moldova

838

£100,225

Figures for previous years are available in the Secretary for State for Foreignand Commonwealth Affairs’ written statement to the House on 11 October 2017 (HCWS154) which can be found at: https://www.parliament.uk/business/ publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2017-10-11/HCWS154/.

[HCWS1204]