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Overseas Travel

Volume 77: debated on Wednesday 24 April 1985

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asked the Lord Privy Seal what information he has on provision made to fund overseas travel on official duties by (a) individual members and (b) Select Committees or their equivalent in the lower Houses of Commonwealth and European Parliaments and the United States House of Representatives; and if he will set out in the Official Report the level of resources made available to them in the latest period for which figures can be ascertained.

The information requested is not held centrally for all Parliaments. I have, however, obtained some information from a variety of sources which is as follows. I must stress, however, that this information is not in a homogeneous form:

1. Canada
Committee travel overseas has to be specifically authorised by a Vote in the House of Commons. Most overseas travel is made under the auspices of one of the seven Parliamentary Associations which have their own annual grants from appropriations of both Houses.
2. India
There is some provision for overseas travel at the discretion of the Authorities of the House.
3. New Zealand
Cabinet approval is required for overseas travel, which is funded by the Department of Internal Affairs. The cost of such travel in 1983–84 was $84,566.
*4. Belgium
At the discretion of the Bureau for travel abroad.
*5. Denmark
At the discretion of the Bureau (presidium) in as much as it decides whether the travelling expenses shall be paid and provided for in the Budget of the Folketing.
*6. Germany
At the discretion of the President.
*7. France
At the discretion of the relevant Bureau subject to a ceiling of seven Members in the case of journeys within Europe and five Members in the cases of other journeys abroad. The number of participants is irrelevant for journeys abroad during Sessions.
*8. Ireland
Authorisation for travel can be given.
*9. Italy
At the discretion of the President.
*10. Luxembourg
Authorisation for travel can be given.
*11. Holland
At the discretion of the relevant Bureau.
12. United Kingdom
At the discretion of the Liaison Committee.
13. United States of America
Congress Members can usually undertake foreign travel on Committee business or by Executive request or appointment. Members are required by law to make public annually the cost of such official trips, which are funded by the public purse. During 1980, 219 Members of Congress took 346 trips abroad at Government expense. The trips by Members and their Committee staff cost a total of $2,803,966·85.
* Our source material on these countries does not distinguish between travel at home and travel abroad.