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Wednesday 19 June 2019

FDA: The British Foreign Policy Group is right – diplomacy can't be done on a shoestring

The FDA welcomes the British Foreign Policy Group's recently released report on the case for "sustained funding" of the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO).

The paper, endorsed by former FCO Permanent Secretary Simon Fraser, calls for increased funding and staffing of the department.

Responding to the report, FDA National Officer Duncan Woodhead said:

"The FDA welcomes the report by the British Foreign Policy Group exposing the longstanding underfunding of the FCO.

"Cuts in staff numbers at home and abroad, and pay amongst the lowest in Whitehall, have characterised the FCO for years. There is never a time when it’s prudent to operate diplomacy, foreign affairs, and overseas trade relations on a shoestring but, as we prepare for life outside the EU, this report explains the need for the FCO to be properly funded if it is to have any chance of realising Britain’s ambition and influence on the world stage.

"For too long the FCO has relied on its reputation as a prestigious place to work to recruit and retain staff, and has lagged behind other Government departments in terms of pay as a result. The FCO’s appeal is wearing thin whilst the lack of resources and reduced staffing create significant challenges for the department to do even the basics. This report identifies the size of the problem and demands significant, large scale, fully funded investment to provide the solutions. Recent pay flexibility in the FCO is welcomed by the FDA, but this does little to counter the long-term decline in staff terms and conditions. Moreover, FCO staff are now facing significant cuts to the overseas compensation package to offset the cost of last year’s moderate pay increase.

"As Brexit looms large, it’s time the Government made good on FCO funding and reversed this generational decline."

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