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Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on flying the Union flag each day from each official building for which his Department is responsible. 
Mr Bellingham: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) issues guidance for the flying of the Union flag on UK Government buildings. The guidance encourages the Union flag to be flown 365 days a year, and as a minimum all Departments must fly the Union flag on the 19 special designated days, for example HM the Queen's birthday, Remembrance Day, etc and other special occasions as required, for example, the State Opening of Parliament. More information on the guidance is available on the DCMS website:
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, flies the Union flag 365 days of the year on buildings in the United Kingdom. At our posts overseas the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961) provides in article 20 that:
"The mission and its head shall have the right to use the flag and emblem of the sending state on the premises of the mission, including the residence of the head of mission, and on his means of transport".
We advise our posts that the flag, whether that be Union, Diplomatic or Consular, be flown at the Chancery building on all working days during office hours. Flags at the Head of Mission's residence should be flown only on days of local celebration or mourning, on the 19 special designated days and during the stay of one of Her Majesty's ships.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the (a) make, (b) model and (c) place of manufacture is of the car allocated for the use of each Minister in his Department. 
Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has five cars allocated to its Ministers. Three Toyota Prius that were manufactured in Japan, one Vauxhall Vectra Diesel manufactured in Germany and one Jaguar XJL manufactured in the UK.
"the number of Ministers with allocated cars and drivers will be kept to a minimum, taking into account security and other relevant considerations. Other Ministers will be entitled to use cars from the Government Car Service Pool as needed".
Cabinet Office has provided clarification on how the Code should be interpreted. The expectation is that Ministers not in the Cabinet will use the pool service and that Cabinet Ministers who have an allocated car will wish to consider how that car might be utilised by other Ministers within the Department before calls are made on the Government Car Service Pool.
Alistair Burt: In 2010-11 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has currently budgeted £7.67 million on a wide range of activities designed to establish and cultivate contacts throughout its network of over 250 overseas posts as well as diplomatic activity in the UK. This represents under 0.9% of our annual discretionary departmental budget. Activities funded from this budget include working meetings with Ministers in the UK, meetings with senior political and military figures from host countries and events hosted for political and business delegations (including those in support of UKTI) abroad, to promote and defend wider British interests.
Budgets in the FCO are devolved and funds currently earmarked for business hospitality purposes can and will be used to fund other activities in pursuit of FCO and wider Government objectives, both in the UK and in our posts overseas. These budgets were originally set earlier this year and are subject to review and further adjustment as part of our internal Quarterly Budget Review process.
Any expenditure on business hospitality is kept under rigorous scrutiny to ensure value for money and effectiveness and is incurred in accordance with the principles of
Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity, Propriety and Value for Money.
Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to the public purse of the ministerial private offices in his Department. 
Alistair Burt: In 2010-11 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has currently budgeted £3.272 million for the administrative and civil service pay costs of ministerial private offices. This figure excludes the costs of ministerial travel which are published to Parliament on an annual basis. FCO budgets are subject to review and further adjustment as part of our internal Quarterly Budget Review process. All expenditure is kept under rigorous scrutiny to ensure value for money and effectiveness and is incurred in accordance with the principles of Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.
Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent estimate he has made of the monetary value of the property occupied by each UK embassy and diplomatic post in the EU. 
Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) estate was most recently valued in March 2010. The estimated book value of owned office buildings in EU posts is set out in the following table. Leasehold properties have a nil book value to the FCO, and are therefore not included.
|Country||Post||Book value as at 31 March 2010 (£)|
Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost was of his Department's presence in each of the 27 member states of the EU in the latest period for which figures are available. 
|Net cost of FCO presence for financial year 2008-09|
|(1) The figure for Austria includes the cost of the British embassy in Vienna. However it does not count the cost of the UKDEL Vienna and UKMIS Vienna missions. The budgets of those representations are held separately.|
(2) The figure for Belgium includes the cost of the British embassy in Belgium and the joint management office in Brussels. However, it does not count the cost of the UKREP Brussels and UKDEL Brussels (NATO) missions. The budgets of those representations are held separately.
(3) The figure for France includes the cost of the British embassy in Paris, and the British consulate network in France. It also includes the costs of the UK delegation to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), based in Paris.
(4) The figures for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office presence in Ireland and Spain are both negative due to net proceeds from the sale of property.
1. The full cost of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office presence in each country is provided. This includes both British embassies/high commissions and subordinate posts (eg: British consulates).
2. These figures also include the costs of the operations of other Government Departments, within our network of posts in the European Union-eg UK Trade and Investment/UK Borders Agency activities.
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