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Politics & press news – Embassy 21 – December 2009

Cut in perks due at FCO

British diplomats will have to tighten their belts in future as Chancellor Alistair Darling imposed swingeing cuts on the FCO in his pre-budget report.

Foreign service officers are to be stripped of privileges totalling £13m a year as the Chancellor seeks ways to plug Britain's £178bn budget deficit.

In future, embassy staff will have to travel economy class on flights under five hours - and not claim as much for their children's private education.

A  total overhaul of the FCO expenses system is also expected.

According to 2007 figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, educating children of Foreign Office diplomats costs UK taxpayers £20m a year, because many of the 540 children are educated at public boarding schools.
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