Get involved with PCS Save British Council campaign

27 Apr 2020

PCS has launched a Save The British Council campaign to fight for the future of the organisation.

The organisation, which works in more than 50 countries promoting a wider knowledge of the United Kingdom and the English language; encouraging cultural, scientific, technological and educational co-operation with the United Kingdom, has about 1,200 UK staff and has furloughed a quarter of employees and intends to let go 15% of non-permanent or fixed term employees. Even with these extreme actions, the funding deficit is still too large as approximately 203 of 221 of its schools are closed, and 26 out of 41 test centres. If additional money is not allocated by government, the council, which is a non-departmental public body, will not be able to continue paying staff wages from May.

Its sponsoring department is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Unlike most public bodies, the majority of the council’s income comes from commercial activity in teaching English abroad, along with other cultural projects in communities across the globe.

Poor government response

Unfortunately, the response from government, via the FCO, so far has been slow and poor. Ministers want the council to promise redundancies of permanent staff, a pay freeze in 2020 and even wage reductions.

In the PCS campaign so far reps have met virtually with members and British Council management on multiple occasions. We have written to foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, and the permanent under-secretary of the FCO, Simon McDonald, to demand urgent intervention, without strings attached.

We have also written to the foreign affairs select committee chair Tom Tugendhat to ask for an inquiry into the council’s funding and future and called on the British Council All-Party Parliamentary Group for support.

We have submitted several parliamentary questions through the PCS Parliamentary Group, laid down an early day motion and set up e-action.

What you can do to help

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