FCO Struggles to Help Brits Abroad, NAO Report Finds

By Gainsbury, Sally | Public Finance, November 25, 2005 | Go to article overview

FCO Struggles to Help Brits Abroad, NAO Report Finds


Gainsbury, Sally, Public Finance


The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is struggling to meet the expectations of British travellers and expatriates because of its unpredictable, shoestring budget, a report from the National Audit Office has found.

The FCO s consular services are funded through a £9.65 consular premium' that is levied on each UK passport issued.

The NAO s report Consular services to British nationals, published on November 24, finds that the premium has remained unchanged since it was introduced in 2003 and represents just a 7% increase in funding since 1999.

'It's not a huge amount of money to be given,' said Tim Banfield, a director at the NAO.

Consular services assist Britons overseas with problems such as illness, accidents and crime. The FCO is required to recover the direct costs of such services, but does not recoup indirect costs such as staffing. …

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