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Heathrow Airport

Volume 473: debated on Wednesday 12 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his Written Ministerial Statement of 4 March 2008, Official Report, column 105WS, on Heathrow and Gatwick (VIP facilities), what the public subsidy is expected to be in (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2008-09. (192395)

Final accounts for 2007-08 are not yet available. We anticipate expenditure of £2.4 million on the VIP suites at London Heathrow and the one facility at London Gatwick. We expect to recover about £1.25 million from diplomatic missions for their private use of these facilities.

On 31 March 2008, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s financial support and operational role in the terminal suites at Heathrow and Gatwick will end. From 1 April BAA will be responsible for covering 100 per cent. of the operating costs and invoicing all customers directly, including diplomatic missions and the FCO. For financial year 2008-09, we have estimated we will need £50,000 to meet the suite costs of that VIPs whom we officially invite to the UK.

The FCO will maintain operational control and financial interest in the royal suite at Heathrow. To cover these costs we have a budget of £0.54 million, of which we expect to recover at least 90 per cent. as full economic recovery charges for private use of this facility by diplomatic missions.