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Paris might be worth a mass, but Minsk scarcely rates a kopek

From Hansard:

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 27 April 2009, Official Report, column 1032W, on departmental public expenditure, what resource allocation was made for each overseas post for (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2008-09.

David Miliband: The following table gives net administration allocations by post for 2007-08 and 2008-09.

There then follows a lengthy table showing the cost of our various postings, and because I've got time on my hands wake up, I have been having some fun with the European statistics.

Here are costs by embassies etc, with outlying consulates for Germany, France and Russia combined. I have excluded those Belgian offices connected with the EU and so forth:



So, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Russia are the heavy hitters, and Montenegro, Belarus and Reykjavik are bottom of the heap.

However, dividing population by expenditure provides another way of measuring how important the Foreign Office thinks that various places are:



And we would appear to have a thing for islands, as Cyprus, Malta and Iceland have by far the highest spend relative to population, and Belarus is bottom of the heap. However, Gibraltar, excluded from the chart as it is not a sovereign state, knocks Cyprus into a cocked hat, with a spend of £38.56 per head, compared to £3.57 for Aphrodite's Island. Minsk gets all of £0.03 per head.

Clearly there is a baseline cost for maintaining a diplomatic presence, and excluding countries with populations south of three million, the Swiss come out on top, although doubtless this is skewed by the presence of NGOs in that neck of the woods. Our Irish and Danish neighbours also impress.

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