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Departments: Official Visits

Volume 463: debated on Thursday 19 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was spent on overnight accommodation by civil servants within his Department’s areas of responsibilities in the last 12 months. (149045)

Both in the UK and overseas, staff are paid subsistence to compensate for the additional costs of being away from home on official duty. Subsistence covers the cost of a room in a typical hotel, and the costs of meals and other incidentals. Each post has a different daily subsistence rate depending on local economic conditions There is no automatic entitlement to subsistence in the UK.

Current electronic data in the UK show that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office spent the following on hotel accommodation between April 2006 and June 2007:

£

Dates from and to

UK

Overseas

April 2006-March 2007

60,429.15

686,213.40

April 2007-June 2007

8,469.75

86,522.68

However, this information is subject to the following caveats:

the figures use the date the expense was incurred, rather than the submission date;

the figures shown are only those where total expenditure has been paid; and

the figures provided are only those held in the UK. Posts overseas may also have paid individually for accommodation during this period, but our systems are not able to separate out the sums spent by overseas posts on overnight accommodation from other travel expenses.