26th February 2019

Sir Nicholas’s Question to the Foreign Office about the effective use of Britain’s unique soft power.  Tuesday, 26th February, 2019

23. What steps he is taking to enhance UK soft power overseas. [909459]

We should be proud of the UK’s soft power and the contribution that independent institutions such as the BBC and the British Council make to it. That is why the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has trebled its investment in Chevening scholarships since 2015, helped to fund the biggest expansion of the BBC World Service in 70 years and provided additional funding for the British Council’s work in developed countries. It is also why my Department is developing a cross-Government soft power strategy to further project our values and advance our interests overseas.

I congratulate my hon. Friend and his colleagues on their excellent work to co-ordinate better our soft power effort, but does he agree that it is very important that there is a proper plan to follow up on some of the very successful royal visits overseas with a very well co-ordinated effort, particularly in soft power?

I thank my right hon. Friend. We have already had questions today on Shakespeare and the BBC, but he is absolutely right that our royal family is one of our greatest soft power assets, and we will do our level best, through the GREAT campaign and elsewhere, to ensure that strength continues.