Letters: Britain’s future depends on relations with countries outside the eurozone

Opinion piece (The Telegraph)
18 October 2015

Jaw-jaw, not war-war

SIR – Britain is lucky to have the thoroughly professional Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to analyse threats to security and work with partners in tackling them.

Thus the FCO recently played an exemplary role in the successful diplomacy that has curbed Iran’s nuclear programme. However, huge cuts in the department’s budget since 2008 – by over 20 per cent in real terms – have caused damage. In recent years, the FCO has not had enough people with expertise on Russia or the Middle East, for example. Now the Treasury wants the FCO to plan for further cuts of 25 to 40 per cent. This is madness.

France spends a quarter more on its foreign ministry and Germany three quarters more than Britain. The British Government’s recent decision to protect the defence budget is welcome, but there is no point in having capable armed forces if British diplomacy is weakened.

Charles Grant

Director, Centre for European Reform

London SW1