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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on the payment of ransoms abroad by British companies or nationals.
The Government have a long-standing policy of not making or facilitating substantive concessions to hostage-takers. We maintain this consistent policy because we believe that to make substantive concessions such as paying ransoms would reward the act of hostage-taking and encourage future kidnaps of British nationals. Although the payment of a ransom by a third party to a criminal gang is not illegal under UK law, the Government are firm that we do not, and will not, become involved in activity that could facilitate such a payment. Payment of a ransom to a United Nations designated terrorist group or individual would contravene the al-Qaeda and Taliban sanctions regime established by UN Security Resolution 1267 (1999).