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Departmental Travel

Volume 476: debated on Monday 2 June 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department and its agencies spent on first class travel in the last 12 months for which figures are available, broken down by staff grade. (187531)

Information on the number and class of tickets purchased is not normally held, because the Treasury’s accounting system records the costs of travel but not the number or type of tickets bought. However, for financial year 2006-07, the Treasury’s travel management company provided information on the number and type of tickets purchased through them.

The combined spending of HM Treasury and the Debt Management Office on UK and overseas first class travel was £490,000. Tickets bought but subsequently refunded are excluded and some tickets are bought directly by the traveller, so this information is not a complete record of all tickets bought by the Treasury. Since 1999, the Government have published on an annual basis a list of all overseas visits by Cabinet Ministers costing in excess of £500, as well as the total cost of all ministerial travel overseas. Copies of the lists are available in the Libraries of the House. All travel is undertaken in accordance with the “Civil Service Management Code” and the “Ministerial Code”.

The total costs of first class travel completed by Valuation Office Agency staff in the 2006-07 financial year are not recorded centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, information on first class Eurostar travel is available separately and amounted to £1,745 in 2006-07.

The accounting systems of Office of Government Commerce, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, Office for National Statistics, Royal Mint, Government Actuary’s Department, National Savings and Investments and do not separately identify classes of travel and the information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.