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Volume 400: debated on Monday 3 March 2003

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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what criteria Ministers in his Department use when determining whether to offer hospitality in restaurants to interest groups at public expense; and if he will make a statement; [99586]

(2) what hospitality has been offered at public expense in the last 12 months, by each Minister in his Department to outside interest groups, broken down by (a) restaurant, (b) recipient and (c) cost in each case; [99587]

(3) how often Ministers in his Department have received hospitality in restaurants from outside groups in the last 12 months. [99510]

All offers of hospitality are made in accordance with published departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on the principles set out in "Government Accounting". The giving and receiving of hospitality is conducted fully in accordance with the guidance set out in the "Ministerial Code", and "Guidance on Contacts with Outside Interest Groups including Lobbyists". The detailed information requested is not held in the form requested, and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.