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Departments: Ministerial Policy Advisors

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 29 March 2007

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on how many occasions he was accompanied on official business abroad by (a) a special adviser, (b) one of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury’s special advisers and (c) a member of the Council of Economic Advisers; and at what cost in each year between 1997 and 2006. (130286)

Since 1999 the Government have published, on an annual basis, the total costs of all ministerial overseas travel and a list of all visits by Cabinet Ministers costing in excess of £500. Copies of the lists are available in the Library of the House. Information for the financial year 2005-06 was published on 24 July 2006, Official Report, column 85WS.

Records for 2005-06 show the Chancellor was accompanied on official business abroad by special advisers or members of the Council of Economic Advisers on eight occasions, and the costs of their overseas travel is included in the annual list of overseas travel by Cabinet Ministers.

For information on special advisers’ overseas travel for years previous to 2005-06 I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave to my right hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East (Keith Vaz) on 16 March 2006, Official Report, columns 2411-12W.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the relevant requirement of the Ministerial Code, paragraph 2.11, if he has more than two special advisers. (130289)

All special advisers are appointed under terms and conditions set out in “Code of Conduct for Special Advisers”.

As set out in the Prime Minister’s statement to the House of 24 July 2006 the Chancellor has two paid special advisers.

The Prime Minister’s statement also sets out that the Chancellor has one unpaid special adviser and has appointed a Council of Economic advisers, who are employed on special adviser terms, a commitment in the 1997 Labour party business manifesto. The Council is made up of individual policy experts who will bring their specialist experience to work on the Government’s key policy priorities.