Foreign Office in 'how to spend £1m' storm
The head of the government department responsible for promoting British business abroad asked officials to think of ways to spend up to £1 million to avoid a budget underspend, it was reported today.
Sir Andrew Cahn, until this week head of UK Trade & Investment, said in an email to senior colleagues that the Foreign Office was "heading for an underspend and wants to get money out of the door", the Daily Mail reported.
He added: "If we can spend money in this financial year on a one-off basis, then we can have at least £1 million. Can you think what we might do with such money?"
One suggestion was to offer "business development visits" to the UK by staff based abroad.
The newspaper said the email exchanges took place in November following the coalition's Comprehensive Spending Review, setting out cuts across the board to reduce the Government's budget deficit.
Shadow foreign secretary Yvette Cooper told the newspaper that "William Hague's financial planning seems to be in chaos".
She said: "The Foreign Secretary has cut spending on long-standing programmes dealing with the fight against international drugs and crime, at the same time as his department is rushing to 'get money out the door'.
"At a time when jobs and livelihoods in Britain are being put at risk by government cuts, the Foreign Office needs to show it has a proper grip on its priorities and financial plans."
A spokeswoman for UKTI said: "The Government does not comment on leaked documents. Government spend is subject to rigorous value for money checks to ensure appropriate return for taxpayer funding.
"All of UKTI's services are subject to independent assessment. For every £1 of taxpayers' money spent, our customers tell us that this generates £19 of additional profit for their businesses. UKTI has not drawn any additional resource from the FCO this financial year."
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 3 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 4 A third of employers never check job applicants' qualifications, survey finds
- 5 James Foley beheading: Fox news presenter Megyn Kelly annoyed by Ferguson update during broadcast about murdered journalist
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...
£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...
£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...