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Departmental Official Hospitality

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the answer of 11 March 2008, Official Report, columns 326-27W, on departmental official hospitality, how much his Department spent on entertaining in 2008-09. (290151)

In 2008-09 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) spent £7,951,558 on a wide range of activities from entertaining individuals, to dinner receptions for Ministers and high level visitors, and other events to establish and cultivate contacts. All are undertaken in pursuit of FCO objectives, both in the UK and in our posts overseas.

This figure is made up of £7,544,672 in direct entertainment expenditure, which includes the costs of food, drink and sundries when official contacts are entertained either at an officer's home, mission residences or at an external venue, and £406,886 of Government hospitality expenditure, which is official hospitality at ministerial level across Whitehall.

All entertainment expenditure, including that on hospitality, is incurred in accordance with the principles of Managing Public Money and HM Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.