§ Mr. Frank Allaun
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what was the cost to public funds of the NATO nuclear planning meeting at Gleneagles in October; if he will provide a detailed breakdown of costs incurred by (a) use and transport of Army bands, (b) consumption of food and alcoholic drinks and (c) the use of (i) RAF aeroplanes and (ii) British Airways helicopters to take guests from Edinburgh to Gleneagles; and if he is satisfied that the costs of the meeting were as low as possible.
§ Mr. Blaker
The NATO nations host nuclear planning group meetings on a rotational basis and the United Kingdom's turn therefore arises at about six year intervals. The total cost to Her Majesty's government of the Gleneagles meeting attended by the Secretary General of NATO and 13 Defence Ministers and their senior civil and military advisers was approximately £170, 000. Of this the cost of the single RAF VC10 return flight from Heathrow to RAF Leuchars and the helicopter flights for senior delegates from Leuchars to Gleneagles was about £30, 000 and the hire of coaches for the band of the Scots Guards about £1, 400. The cost of food and drink cannot be separately identified from the total hotel bill without disproportionate effort. Bearing in mind the very high degree of security necessary my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence is satisfied that the total cost of the meeting was entirely reasonable.