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Departmental Official Hospitality

Volume 482: debated on Tuesday 11 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much was spent on entertainment by her Department in 2007-08; and how much of that was for (a) food, (b) alcohol, (c) staff and (d) accommodation. (233517)

The Home Office systems do not separately identify the costs of food, alcohol, staff and accommodation related to entertainment separately and they could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

However we do retain records for hospitality provided by both civil servants and Ministers. The spend for 2007-08, the last 12 month period for which there are audited figures, was £58,156.

Home Office expenditure on official hospitality and entertainment conforms to departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, which complies with the principles of Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety. Hospitality is defined as the provision of food, drink and entertainment of non civil servants where it is beneficial to the interests of the Department.

For the Department's agencies, the Criminal Records Bureau and the Identity and Passport Service’s spend could be provided only at disproportionate cost.