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Departments: Travel Agents

Volume 461: debated on Tuesday 19 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department and its agencies paid in travel agencies’ fees in each year since 1997. (139918)

The Department utilises OGC Buying Solutions frameworks for the provision of these services and pays travel agencies’ fees for air, rail and ferry bookings. However the information requested is not available centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate costs. The Department obtains a discount from every business travel booking made through the contracted agents which would not be available should we book directly with the operators. All bookings will attract a commission for the agent from the operator which will be returned to us, the customer, by way of a discount and the discounts negotiated are in excess of the fees charged. These discounts appear on invoices having had any fees deducted, therefore, the fee element is not identifiable from invoices. To identify the fees individually would require an extensive clerical exercise involving officials and the suppliers.