HC Deb 17 January 1992 vol 201 cc665-6W
Mr. Straw

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the purpose of his recent visit to Mexico; who accompanied him in any official capacity; and what was the total cost to the Exchequer for him and those with him.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

My visit was in response to an invitation from the Mexican Government. The Mexican Government are giving very high priority to the modernisation of their education system and they wished to share our experience of education reform particularly our policies to raise standards and improve efficiency in post-school education and training. I was also able to assist British suppliers of educational goods and services to benefit from this expanding market. I had meetings with President Salinas and with the Foreign Secretary and the Education Secretary of the Mexican Government and with several state governors.

I was accompanied by a departmental private secretary and a senior official of my department. The breakdown of our costs for the visit is as follows:

  • —Transport to Mexico and within Mexico: £9,739
  • —Accommodation and subsistence in the British Embassy and in hotels: £487
  • —Other costs: £453

I was also accompanied for part of the trip by three British businessmen who covered their own costs.