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Departmental Official Hospitality

Volume 472: debated on Monday 3 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent by his Department and its agencies on (a) alcohol and (b) entertaining in the last 12 month period for which information is available. (188064)

The Department’s guidance to staff on hospitality states that hospitality

“should be modest, and in keeping with the occasion, and justifiable as being necessary for the effective conduct of Departmental business (“wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of” your work)”.

The guidance also states that the provision of alcoholic drinks should be exceptional.

The Department does not routinely collect data at this level of detail, as they are not required for our statutory reporting. A considerable manual exercise would need to be undertaken to separate expenditure on alcohol and entertaining from that relating to internal meetings and staff subsistence claims in order to provide this information. Such an exercise would incur disproportionate costs.