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Departmental Travel

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 18 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland with reference to the answer of 24 November 2008, Official Report, column 882W, on departmental travel, how much has been spent on hotels used by his staff in the last 12 months; and if he will list the hotels used. (243240)

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO), excluding its agencies and executive NDPBs, spent £200,601 on hotels during 2007-08.

Other miscellaneous expenditure which may have been incurred during hotel stays, such as business related telephone calls, are reclaimed as expenses and costs could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Information on the names of hotels regularly used by NIO staff has not been provided in the interests of staff security.

All expenditure has to be incurred in accordance with the principles of Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety. In doing so the NIO always seeks to obtain the best value hotels available, that are within a reasonable travelling distance of the destination, obtaining the best prices for hotels rooms at the time of booking and making use of Government rates where available.