FCO Performance and Finances

Letter to the Chair from Martin Davidson, Chief Executive, British Council

The spending review settlement announced today will secure the British Council’s global network and our cultural relations impact throughout the spending review period.

 The outcome of the spending review has confirmed the value of the British Council’s cultural relations work as a major contributor to the UK's international relations.  Throughout the spending review we have been clear that we would play our part in helping to reduce the UK's public spending deficit.  I believe that today's announcement that our grant will reduce from £180.9m to £149m by 2014 is a reasonable settlement. This ring fenced funding represents a cut of 17%, which (with inflation) amounts to a real cut in the region of 25%.  Our core grant funding is assured for the next four years. 

The FCO has informed us that our grant is as follows:- 

Financial year  Grant funding  
2010/11 baseline        £180.9 
2011/12 £173m  
2012/13 £165m  
2013/14 £157m  
2014/15 £149m  

In addition, the Foreign Secretary has made it clear that we will remain a Non-Departmental Public Body sponsored by the FCO.

We will have to make some difficult choices as we decide on our plans for the next four years but we intend to build a robust future for the British Council using the best of the UK’s cultural and educational resources to build opportunity and trust for the UK worldwide.  Out of this will come ambitious plans to focus on our work in English, the arts and education, including developing and growing alternative sources of income.  

I am confident that our work in the emerging markets, such as India and China, and in countries where the UK is less trusted, will continue to strengthen the prosperity and security of the UK and the countries where we work. 

20 October 2010