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British Council

Volume 636: debated on Tuesday 20 February 2018

I welcome the significant contribution made by the British Council to projecting British values overseas, which I regularly witness on my visits to Asia and the Pacific. My officials and I are in regular dialogue with the British Council across the globe to discuss the scope of its important work. We will continue to work with it to ensure compliance with our manifesto commitment to

“place… the British Council on a secure footing”.

I thank the Minister for that response. Given the importance of the British Council to our soft power, what are the implications of possible cuts to non-overseas development aid funding for the council’s work? How might they affect the Government’s plans for a global Britain?

The council has agreed to reduce its non-ODA grant from the Foreign Office to zero by the end of the spending review period in exchange for additional official development assistance funding. As part of our vision for a global Britain, we want a properly funded and effective council that projects British values right across the world. The council will continue to deliver activity in non-ODA countries through the income generated from other sources, such as its commercial income.