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Volume 485: debated on Thursday 18 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been spent on (a) departmental Christmas parties and (b) staff entertainment in the last three years. (243744)

Staff Christmas parties are paid for from non-public funds or staff subscription. MOD does not use public funds for such activities, in line with departmental guidance and the principles of ‘Managing Public Money’, and no official funds were used for Christmas parties in the last three years.

Departmental guidance states that it is acceptable for service and civilian staff to be entertained at public expense (subject to strict constraints on the cost and frequency of such activity) only in the context of unit cohesiveness or teambuilding events. However, information on amounts spent on staff entertainment in the last three years is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.