Opinion Former Article

PCS media release on Foreign Office plans

Key diplomatic work will increasingly be done by cheap, inexperienced local staff and the diplomatic service will be overstretched under plans outlined by the Foreign Office today, according to the Public and Commercial Services Union.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "The foreign secretary says our diplomatic network is 'the essential infrastructure' for UK foreign policy but is pressing ahead with a 10% cut in spending and while expanding posts in some parts of the world he is planning to axe 400 highly experienced Diplomatic Service staff.

"This is a kick in the teeth for staff who do a tremendous job on behalf of this country providing a lifeline for people who get into difficulties in popular European resorts. This will mean some parts of the world will now be under-resourced and that embassies will no longer be staffed by experienced diplomats.

"UK citizens visiting Europe will not be able to rely on the invaluable support of the British consular network as many of these are likely to be cut while the government pursues interests in richer countries.

"William Hague says the Foreign Office's resources have been stretched by the high cost of operations in Afghanistan - £2.6 billion a year and countless lives on an unwinnable war - which is making the world less safe, which is why we support the withdrawal of UK troops from that country.

"The government should rethink these plans and instead of pressing ahead with a programme of swingeing cuts invest in jobs, public services and close the £120 billion annual tax gap."



- For information and interview requests contact PCS journalist Dave Tilley on 020 7801 2744

- The Public and Commercial Services union represents civil and public servants in central government, including civilian staff in the Ministry of Defence. It has more than 300,000 members in over 200 departments and agencies, as well as staff in parts of government transferred to the private sector. PCS is the UK's sixth largest union and is affiliated to the TUC. The general secretary is Mark Serwotka and the president is Janice Godrich

- Follow PCS on Twitter twitter.com

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