HC Deb 24 April 1985 vol 77 cc451-2W
Mr. Higgins

asked the Lord Privy Seal what information he has on provision made to fund overseas travel on official duties by (a) individual members and (b) Select Committees or their equivalent in the lower Houses of Commonwealth and European Parliaments and the United States House of Representatives; and if he will set out in the Official Report the level of resources made available to them in the latest period for which figures can be ascertained.

Mr. Biffen

The information requested is not held centrally for all Parliaments. I have, however, obtained some information from a variety of sources which is as follows. I must stress, however, that this information is not in a homogeneous form1. Canada Committee travel overseas has to be specifically authorised by a Vote in the House of Commons. Most overseas travel is made under the auspices of one of the seven Parliamentary Associations which have their own annual grants from appropriations of both Houses. 2. India There is some provision for overseas travel at the discretion of the Authorities of the House. 3. New Zealand Cabinet approval is required for overseas travel, which is funded by the Department of Internal Affairs. The cost of such travel in 1983–84 was $84,566. *4. Belgium At the discretion of the Bureau for travel abroad. *5. Denmark At the discretion of the Bureau (presidium) in as much as it decides whether the travelling expenses shall be paid and provided for in the Budget of the Folketing. *6. Germany At the discretion of the President. *7. France At the discretion of the relevant Bureau subject to a ceiling of seven Members in the case of journeys within Europe and five Members in the cases of other journeys abroad. The number of participants is irrelevant for journeys abroad during Sessions. *8. Ireland Authorisation for travel can be given. *9. Italy At the discretion of the President. *10. Luxembourg Authorisation for travel can be given. *11. Holland At the discretion of the relevant Bureau. 12. United Kingdom At the discretion of the Liaison Committee. 845 13. United States of America Congress Members can usually undertake foreign travel on Committee business or by Executive request or appointment. Members are required by law to make public annually the cost of such official trips, which are funded by the public purse. During 1980, 219 Members of Congress took 346 trips abroad at Government expense. The trips by Members and their Committee staff cost a total of $2,803,966.85. * Our source material on these countries does not distinguish between travel at home and travel abroad.