Expenses, or more properly allowances, are much in the news presently. It is perhaps, though, just a coincidence that recently a question was asked in parliament about the hardship allowance paid to diplomatic service employees, the Diplomatic Service Compensation Allowance.
It is interesting to peruse this list and ponder what judgment lies behind it. For working in Guatemala the allowance is £2,295. This would seem to be abut three times the hardship of being in Buenos Aires, and a bit less than a third of the hardship of being in Lagos. I wonder why lonely Tristan da Cunha only qualifies for £463 – the most remote inhabited place on earth with a tiny population – which I would have thought could present a severe hardship to a lot of people. It’s not clear what the allowances are based on – though the high allowances for places like Islamabad and Baghdad are clear enough, I’m not sure why Cape Town would represent any hardship at all. It is also not clear to me what period the allowances cover – the questioner asks for monthly amounts but should that be the case then someone posted to Khartoum for instance would stand to earn £110,136 on top of their basic salary. Is that correct?
On the same day another question was asked about expenditure per post, and we see that Guatemala’s budget has dropped by about a third, even though it also looks after Honduras and El Salvador. I have commented on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s priorities before, so I shall desist from repeating my complaints again here, and direct the interested there.