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Government Hospitality Fund

Volume 491: debated on Wednesday 22 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs who the (a) chairman and (b) members of each Government Hospitality Fund advisory committee are; what each committee’s terms of appointment are; how often each Committee meets; what the main functions are of each one; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the minutes of the most recent meeting of each committee. (269135)

Government Hospitality has one advisory committee, the Government Hospitality Advisory Committee for the Purchase of Wine (GHACPW). As a registered non-departmental public body, the terms of reference of the Committee are in the public domain.

The Chairman of the Committee is Sir David Wright; the four members of the Committee are Mr. John Avery MW, Mrs. Deirdre Blackstock MW, Mr. Mark Pardoe MW and Mr. Sebastian Payne MW. The chairman and members are each appointed for a five-year term, renewable for a further five years.

The GHACPW meets four times a year. Its main function is to advise the Minister responsible for Government Hospitality on the maintenance of an appropriate standard of wine for use at Government functions.

Edited minutes of the Committee’s proceedings are released through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Publication Scheme. The Annual Report of the Committee is placed in the Library of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) full-time employees and (b) full-time equivalent staff the Government Hospitality Fund employed in each of the last five years. (269136)

Government Hospitality is part of Protocol Directorate within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. There are 14 established civil servants working in the Government Hospitality team, and this number has not varied significantly over the last five years.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much the Government Hospitality Fund spent on the purchase of (a) champagne and (b) other wines in each of the last five years. (269137)

Government Hospitality in Protocol Directorate, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, recorded the following expenditure on new stock for the Government cellar in the previous five years:

£

2003-04

93,503

2004-05

60,059

2005-06

95,264

2006-07

108,715

2007-08

137,460

These sums include approximately £33,310 spent on purchasing champagnes over the five year period.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the budget of the Government Hospitality Fund was in each year since 1997. (269138)

Government Hospitality recorded the following expenditure in the years since 1997:

£

1997-98

342,131

1998-99

407,399

1999-2000

406,486

2000-01

489,994

2001-02

552,924

2002-03

623,892

2003-04

705,384

2004-05

869,418

2005-06

809,529

2006-07

592,592

2007-08

525,568

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what budget has been set for the Government Hospitality Fund for (a) 2009-10 and (b) 2010-11. (269139)

An annual budget of £800,000 has been allocated for Government Hospitality, Protocol Directorate, for each of the next two financial years.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to how many official functions the Government Hospitality Fund provided services in each of the last five years. (269140)

Government Hospitality in Protocol Directorate, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, assisted in the organisation and execution of the following number of functions between 2004 and 2008:

Number of functions

2004

283

2005

260

2006

227

2007

189

2008

208

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the (a) role and (b) function of the Government Hospitality Fund is. (269141)

Government Hospitality in Protocol Directorate of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office delivers official hospitality for all Government Ministers and Permanent Secretary-level officials. Government Hospitality manages all the logistical preparations for official functions. It also oversees the administration of the Government wine cellar, and the maintenance of stocks of linen, china, silver and glassware.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which Departments made use of the Government Hospitality Fund in each of the last five years. (269142)

Since 2004 the following Departments have used Government Hospitality's service:

The Office of the Prime Minister;

The Home Office;

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office;

The Ministry of Defence;

The Ministry of Justice;

HM Treasury; the Cabinet Office;

The Department of Health;

The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform;

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs;

The Department for International Development;

The Department for Communities and Local Government;

The Department for Children, Schools and Families;

The Department for Energy and Climate Change;

The Department for Work and Pensions;

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport; and

The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) champagnes and (b) other wines the Government Hospitality Fund purchased in each of the last five years; and how many bottles of each were purchased. (269143)

Since 2004 Government Hospitality has purchased the following wines:

English still and sparkling white and rosé wines;

Red Bordeaux;

White Burgundy;

Red Burgundy;

White Loire;

Sweet white Bordeaux;

Non-vintage and vintage Champagne;

Red Spanish;

Red Italian;

Red and white beverage (reception) wines;

Red Argentinean;

Red Australian;

Red Chilean;

Red New Zealand; and

Red US wines.

To give a detailed breakdown of the numbers of each wine bought would incur disproportionate cost as the information can be obtained only by investigating paper records.