HC Deb 19 January 1965 vol 705 cc7-8
7. Sir Richard Glyn

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the cost, over the present session of Parliament to the last convenient date, of travel and subsistence for members of the Cabinet and their staffs; and how much of this was on account of home and overseas travel.

Mr. Diamond

Up to 31st December, for Cabinet Ministers and their Private Office staffs, £700 at home and £15,000 abroad.

Sir Richard Glyn

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind this very substantial sum of money, especially with regard to the expenses overseas? In view of the somewhat meagre results obtained, it is at least doubtful whether the nation is getting full value for the taxpayers' money so expended. Will the hon. Gentleman say what proportion of these journeys is taken in military aircraft at a low price rather than in non-military aircraft at much greater expenditure? Will the Chancellor of the Exchequer use all his influence with his Cabinet colleagues to see that, in future, they use military aircraft wherever possible?

Mr. Diamond

My right hon. Friend has heard the hon. Gentleman's remarks. With regard to the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, of course I am particularly interested, in my present responsibility, in seeing that there is no waste of public money. As the House has expressed an interest in this matter, I have ascertained comparable figures which show that, for the present Session, there has been incurred approximately, both at home and abroad, 17 per cent. of the similar expenditure incurred during the financial year 1963–64 by the last Administration. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I make it clear that I am talking about a proportion of the year compared with the full year. That proportion is approximately 17 per cent. of the full year 1963–64.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

Has my hon. Friend made any assessment of the cost to the Exchequer of answering this Question?

Mr. Diamond

I have not been able to do that.