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Christmas

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 24 January 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how much his Department and its agencies have spent on Christmas (a) cards, (b) parties and (c) decorations in each of the last five years. (171433)

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) how much his Department spent on (a) Christmas cards and (b) postage of Christmas cards in 2007; (176906)

(2) how much (a) his Department and (b) the Minister for the Olympics spent on (i) Christmas cards and (ii) postage of Christmas cards in 2007.

For information on Christmas cards sent in 2003 and 2004, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the right hon. Member for Haltemprice and Howden (David Davis) by my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (David Miliband) on 10 January 2005, Official Report, column 82W. In 2005, the Department spent £2,816 on Christmas cards, 40 per cent. of which was donated to charity. For 2006 and 2007, the Cabinet Office has used an on-line e-card at no additional cost to the Department. The cost of any Christmas cards sent by the Department is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

No departmental funds have been used for staff Christmas parties.

Christmas trees are situated at certain points on the Cabinet Office Estate, which includes 10 Downing street, such as in the reception of the main buildings and at the front door of 10 Downing street. The following costs include the purchase, decoration and environmentally friendly disposal of the trees. The cost in each of the last five years was £13,294 (2006), £12,968 (2005), £13,159 (2004), £8,399 (2003) and approximately £5,151 (2002).