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National Audit Office

Volume 480: debated on Monday 6 October 2008

To ask the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission whether National Audit Office staff who are entitled to business class or first class air travel are permitted to (a) travel in a cheaper class to the destination and (b) benefit in monetary terms or kind from the saving. (221922)

The National Audit Office informs me that National Audit Office staff are not entitled to first class air travel, and the normal class of air travel is economy. Business class or premium economy air travel may be permitted in some circumstances, taking into account the duration and timing of travel. All staff must seek prior authorisation for their travel plans from a director or manager.

NAO staff are required to book all air tickets and rail tickets in excess of £20 through contracted travel providers. The companies invoice the National Audit Office for the tickets booked. So staff cannot claim for any fare or travel in a cheaper class than the booked ticket, nor benefit in monetary terms from any difference in cost.

To ask the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission what the budget of the National Audit Office is for 2008-09; and what savings it expects to make within that budget. (222456)

The NAO's budget for 2008-09, approved by the Public Accounts Commission on 4 March 2008, is a net amount of £107.7 million: £74.8 million for audit and assurance services, £24.2 million for the repair and refurbishment of the NAO's headquarters building, and the remaining £8.7 million for the provision of temporary office accommodation for London staff for the duration of the refurbishment work.

The NAO also has a capital budget in 2008-09 of £15.7 million: £1.5 million for its ongoing audit and assurance work, and the remaining £14.2 million for the refurbishment project.

Within its budget, the NAO is committed to efficiency savings of 3 per cent. across its corporate services, 2 per cent. in its value for money work and 1 per cent. on financial audit work.