A Foreign Office Spokesperson said:
“We welcome this timely report into the role of the FCO in UK government. The Government has already done a lot of work to address some of issues raised in the report. As the Foreign Secretary said in his statement to Parliament today, the Government is taking a number of steps to strengthen the Foreign Office as an institution and to increase Britain’s diplomatic presence overseas.”
Foreign Secretary said:
“In the last two years before the General Election, the Foreign Office experienced a 14% real terms reduction in its budget resulting in the sudden loss of personnel and training in many Embassies. The Foreign Affairs Select Committee of this House has done much to sound a warning about these matters, and I have been unable to find any other major Foreign Ministry in the world that raises and reduces its diplomatic activity on the basis of movements in exchange rates. I promised to put an end to this ludicrous situation and this protection is now being restored under a new foreign currency mechanism agreed with the Treasury. This means that the Foreign Office can once again plan properly for the future.
“This development of our network should be seen alongside the Diplomatic Excellence initiative which I have instigated in the FCO and which began six months ago. This places a renewed emphasis on policy creativity, on in depth knowledge of other nations, on geographic and linguistic expertise and the enhancement of traditional diplomatic skills in a manner suitable for the modern world.
“A combination of strict savings in administrative spending, reductions in our subordinate posts in Europe and the other savings I have set out will allow us for the first time in many years to mount a diplomatic advance. For the first time in decades our diplomatic reach is being extended not reduced. It is the right use of public money and it is the right course for Britain in this century.”