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Hospitality

Volume 400: debated on Monday 3 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how often Ministers in his Department have received hospitality in restaurants from outside groups in the last 12 months; [99502](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; [99579]

(3) 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. [99578]

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 centrally, and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his Department's hospitality budget (a) is in 2002–03 and (b) was in each of the last three years; and how much was left unspent at the end of each financial year. [99503]

Expenditure arises on hospitality and entertainment only in the context of promoting the Department's business objectives. All such expenditure is made in accordance with published departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on the principles set out in "Government Accounting".No specific budget amount is allocated for hospitality, which is only one element of the Department's overall administrative budget. The amount spent in recent financial years is shown in the table.

Amount (£)

2002–03

196,935

2001–02121,968
2000–0193,091
1999–200050,114

1Up to 31 January 2003.