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Departmental Rail Travel

Volume 499: debated on Wednesday 11 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much his Department and its predecessor spent on first class rail travel for officials in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. (293336)

Officials who undertake any business- related rail travel do so in line the Ministry's travel and subsistence policies. Officials only undertake first class rail travel where there is a clear business justification to do so. It is Ministry policy to use standard class rail travel for business.

The Ministry's financial accounting systems do not differentiate between the types of rail travel. Therefore, it is not possible to provide the full details of first class rail expenditure for the whole of the period 2006 to 2009. To do so would entail a disproportionate cost.

Some information about expenditure is available from the Ministry's contracted supplier for rail travel covering the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), HM Courts Service and the Tribunal Service. For 2007-08 the expenditure was recorded as £4,121,537 and in 2008-09 it was £5,069,497. The 2008-09 expenditure was higher because staff in the Criminal Justice Group together with some staff in the NOMS previously worked in the Home Office and only began using the Ministry's travel supplier from November 2008.

The Ministry has this year negotiated with its unions changes to eligibility for first class rail travel. The effect of this will be to restrict further the use of first class rail travel to an exceptional basis.