Britain plans diplomatic growth because it eyes post-Brexit affect

LONDON (Reuters) – Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will set out on Wednesday plans to “reinvigorate and expand” British diplomacy after years of finances cuts because the nation appears to be like to spice up its affect across the world after Brexit.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt arrives in Downing Street, London, Britain October 16, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

With simply 5 months till Britain leaves the European Union, its largest overseas coverage shift in additional than 40 years, Hunt will say Britain plans to rent practically 1,000 extra diplomatic workers, open new embassies and increase language coaching.

“Our democratic values are arguably under greater threat than at any time since the fall of the Berlin Wall… We can use our influence, reach and power to defend our values by becoming an invisible chain that links the world’s democracies,” Hunt will say in a speech, in accordance with advance extracts.

Since Britain voted in a 2016 referendum to go away the EU, the government has repeatedly flagged its ambition for a ‘Global Britain’, however lawmakers and overseas coverage specialists have accused it of missing a technique or assets to ship on that purpose.

The Foreign Office has confronted finances cuts beneath successive governments which have seen it scale back embassy jobs and dump unique properties abroad. At the identical time its remit has shrunk, with key coverage areas together with overseas help, commerce and the connection with the EU moved to different departments.

The Foreign Office’s working expenditure fell by 21.6 % between 2010 and 2015 and was then frozen in actual phrases, spending watchdog the National Audit Office stated final 12 months.

“There is a mismatch between the rhetoric and ambition around a Global Britain and actually what we invest in the diplomatic service itself,” stated Tom Raines, head of the Europe Programme at global affairs think-tank Chatham House.

The mismatch, he added, was “quite obvious to others”.

In his speech, entitled “Britain’s role in the world after Brexit”, Hunt will say the brand new jobs will embody 335 diplomatic positions abroad, 328 in London and 329 new native workers across the world.

According to the National Audit Office, the Foreign Office employed 12,865 workers globally in 2016-17.

The government additionally plans to create 12 new embassies or missions, a lot of them in Commonwealth international locations because it appears to be like to revitalise hyperlinks with former colonies.

“There is a perception in many places that Brexit is an isolationist or backwards step for the UK, which has generally been seen as internationalist and open… so there is a big job for the UK to correct that narrative,” stated Raines.

The Foreign Office may also increase language coaching, growing the variety of languages taught on the division to 70 from 50, together with the addition of Kazakh, Kyrgyz and Gujarati.

Additional reporting by David Milliken; enhancing by Stephen Addison and Gareth Jones

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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