HC Deb 11 March 1997 vol 292 c137W
Mr. Bill Walker

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the visits abroad made by councillors and officials of Scottish councils in the last three years which were paid for out of public funds. [18379]

Mr. George Kynoch

I am aware that expenditure by councils on overseas visits is quite rightly a matter of substantial public concern, particularly in the light of recent allegations about overseas visits by Glasgow city councillors. That is why I wrote to the leader of Glasgow city council on 7 February asking for information on this. The response which I have received from that council reveals that a total of £79,656 has been spent during the current financial year sending councillors to overseas events which include a cultural symposium in St. Petersburg, a "City Days" event in Rostov-on-Don, the international rose trials exhibition in Rome and a meeting of the International Badminton Federation in Hong Kong. The information from Glasgow records amounts of up to £2,819 being paid as subsistence to individual councillors for particular overseas visits. Glasgow city council has not submitted information about expenditure on officials' visits. I have placed a copy of Glasgow city council's letter in the Library of the House.

I also wrote to the president of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities on 7 February asking for information on other councils' expenditure sending councillors to conferences and overseas visits. The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities has so far failed to reply, and I am today asking for information about councillors' and officials' visits directly from councils. I intend to make this information publicly available when I have received it.