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Departmental Official Hospitality

Volume 503: debated on Thursday 7 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much (a) his Department and (b) its agencies spent on (i) alcohol and (ii) entertainment in the last 12 months. (305536)

The Home Office systems do not separately identify the cost of alcohol from overall entertainment costs, and this could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

However, we do retain records for hospitality provided by both civil servants and Ministers. The spend for 2008-09, the last 12 month period for which there are audited figures, was £50,371.

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 at modest cost 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.