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Departmental Official Hospitality

Volume 508: debated on Thursday 8 April 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the five most expensive hospitality events hosted by his Department and its agencies were in the last three years; and what (a) the cost and (b) purpose of each such event was. (324656)

DEFRA and its agencies conduct many public events throughout the year and the costs of each are carefully managed to ensure best value for money is achieved consistent with the objectives and purpose of the event. No central record is maintained of these events.

DEFRA does not conduct hospitality events, these being precluded by the civil service code. But some hospitality, e.g. refreshments and buffets may be provided at events.

Core financial systems do not always record the specific nature of the events and as all event costs are not directly allocated to a single account, the answer could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

No central records are kept by DEFRA of the events conducted by its eight agencies so to collect and collate answers would also incur disproportionate cost.