asked Her Majesty's Government:
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 11 December (WA 35) concerning the expenses of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland's visits to the United States, why it is not possible accurately to disaggregate the cost for accompanying officials from those incurred by the Secretary of State; and how much the travel and accommodation cost for the officials and how much for the Secretary of State. [HL955]
Pursuant to my Answer of 11 December 2007 with estimated costs of visits made to the United States by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State, more detailed updated information on costs incurred by the Northern Ireland Office is now available. Details of other costs such as subsistence and miscellaneous expenditure are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However the final, major costs of the visits are as follows.
As previously stated, it is important as we progress towards the completion of devolution to maintain contact with the US Administration and key politicians and opinion formers there. Such visits also enable my right honourable friend to support the devolved Administration in attracting inward investment to Northern Ireland.
Washington DC and New York—10 July to 13 July
Secretary of State's flights—£7,659.20
Boston and New York—16 October to 18 October
Secretary of State's flights—£7,414.35
Washington DC and New York—14 November to 19 November
Secretary of State's flights—£7,795.20
(1) These figures are mainly for the cost of hotel accommodation for officials. Wherever possible, the Secretary of State was accommodated at the Ambassadors' residences or made private arrangements.