[holding answer 15 May 2008]: I will attend all of the Olympic Games. Four Ministers will attend for a part of the Games: the Prime Minister; the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport; the Minister for Sport and the Minister for Trade and Investment.
The number of Government officials attending has not yet been finalised, but they will include a private secretary and press officer support to the Ministers. There will also be a small number of officials who will be working to represent UK interests in Beijing, for example through trade opportunities and other events and six officials taking part in the official Olympic Observer Programme to learn lessons for staging the 2012 London Olympic Games. This will be the only opportunity to learn lessons from another summer Olympics before London 2012.
About 17 Olympic Delivery Authority staff are expected to attend. They will aim to learn important operational and logistical lessons to feed into planning for London 2012.
Full costs are not yet known for these visits—details are still being determined. We are working to ensure the best possible price.
There will be no cost to the public purse for London Organising Committee staff attending the Games. Numbers have not yet been finalised, but a significant proportion of LOCOG staff will attend. They will be seconded to the Beijing Organising Committee for about three months; will take part in the official Observer Programme; will take part in the closing ceremony; or will work in the media and operations centre. Again, this will be their last opportunity to learn from a summer Olympics before London 2012.