FCO details costliest embassy operations

Written by Jim Dunton on 20 February 2017 in News
News

Departmental data release breaks down £583m spend on foreign outposts during 2015-16

Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) sign

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has revealed that the British Embassy in Kabul is its most financially draining overseas diplomatic base, with an annual operating cost more than £31m for the last financial year.

Its running costs for the Afghan capital – which include both local and UK staff – are almost as much as those of the Beijing Embassy and Washington Embassy combined.

The figures are contained in a Freedom of Information Act response published by the FCO, which details the costs associated with 230 overseas bases – also including high commissions, and consulates.


FCO director general named as new NATO permanent rep
FCO in joint bid for £10m to hire Brexit-focused trade policy staff
What’s it like working in a British Embassy?


According to the data, the total cost of operations in all 230 locations was £583.2m over the 12 months to April 2016.

After Kabul, where major projects include embedding democracy and strengthening the capacity of the Afghan National Security Forces, Beijing is Britian’s second most expensive embassy. Its running costs for 2015-16 were £18.4m.

Third-placed Washington DC’s running costs were £15.6m for the year.

The FCO’s cheapest overseas location cited was Tangier, which cost £10,000 for the year. The UK’s main base in Morocco is the British Embassy Rabat, which cost £2.2m for the year, the figures show.

An accompanying statement from the department said the figures – literally a single cost for each location – included both income and expenditure, and costs met centrally in London.

“In many cases they also include the cost of hosting other government departments who are co-located with us,” it said.

“Staff costs include wages and salaries, pensions and other [expenses] for UK and locally employed staff.

“Direct costs are inclusive of such items as: estate expenditure; security; vehicle costs; travel, subsistence and allowances; and depreciation.”

The FCO did not reveal who had asked for the data.

Share this page

Further reading in our policy hubs

Add new comment

Contact the author

The contact details for the Civil Service World editorial team are available on our About Us page.

Related Articles

Liam Fox

DIT hunts for director to "reset" its approach to technology

9 March 2017

Fledgling ministry offers £90,000 a year for senior officer to deliver “single device” for...

Ministry of Defence (MoD) London

Ministry of Defence insists it does meet Nato’s defence spending target

15 February 2017

Government rejects think tank's calculations which suggest the UK missed target to spend 2% of...

Theresa May

Parliament will get vote on Brexit, says Theresa May

17 January 2017

"No deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain," says prime minister in major...

Related Sponsored Articles