Mr. Tom Ellis
asked the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, as representing the House of Commons Commission, what was the total cost to public funds in the last two financial years, including Members' and staff travel costs and allowances, of United Kingdom participation in meetings of the Council of Europe Assembly, the Assembly of the Western European Union, the North Atlantic Assembly and other intra-parliamentary visits, delegations and conferences, including visits abroad by parliamentary staff for conferences and visits abroad by Select Committee members and staff; how many hon. Members have, in the last two years, taken part in such overseas parliamentary delegations, visits and conferences, including travel by Select Committees; to which countries they went; whether first class air travel is permitted; and what allowances are paid to Members and staff taking part.
§ Mr. Arthur Bottomley
The net expenditure, for the last two financial years, from the House of Commons Vote in respect of United Kingdom participation in meetings of396W the Council of Europe Assembly, the Assembly of the Western European Union and the North Atlantic Assembly and for Select Committee visits overseas was as follows:
1978–79 1979–80 £226,544 £224,045
The United Kingdom delegations to the Council of Europe Assembly and the Assembly of the Western European Union comprise a total of 36 Members and Peers and to the North Atlantic Assembly a total of 18 Members and Peers. Meetings are held mainly in Paris, Strasbourg and Brussels.
Details of Select Committee visits overseas in the first Session of the present Parliament were given in reply to the hon. Member for Croydon, North-West (Mr. Taylor), on 19 January.—[Vol. 997, c. 2.] It would not be possible to give details of the number of Members participating in such visits and in other overseas visits without incurring disproportionate costs.
Members of the delegations to the Council of Europe Assembly, the Assembly of the Western European Union and the North Atlantic Assembly are currently paid a per diem allowance of 494 French francs whilst on overseas visits. Members of Select Committees are paid appropriate subsistence rates based on those used in the Civil Service. First class air travel is permitted for inter-continental journeys only.