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Christmas

Volume 481: debated on Tuesday 21 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many Christmas functions (a) he, (b) officials from his Department and (c) officials from its executive agencies (i) hosted and (ii) attended in 2007-08; what the cost to the public purse was; and if he will make a statement. (226964)

The then Secretary of State, the right hon. Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (James Purnell), hosted a Christmas reception for the Department's non-departmental public bodies in December 2007, at a cost of £11,600; and a reception for journalists at a cost of £1,637. He attended 10 Christmas functions in total while in post.

The annual staff party at DCMS is self-funded by staff, and any profits made are donated to the DCMS Civil Service Sports & Social Club account. Information on functions that DCMS officials attended or hosted could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The Department has only one executive agency, The Royal Parks (TRP). The TRP held an annual staff Christmas party in 2007. This was paid for by TRP directors and not the public purse. All TRP staff were also invited to the winter wonderland fair in Hyde park by the organizer of the event. A further seven Christmas functions attended by a TRP staff member were recorded in the Agency's hospitality register. There was no cost to the public purse.