HC Deb 20 November 2000 vol 357 c24W
Mr. Wilkinson

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the purpose was of the visit of the Minister for Housing and Planning to Santiago, Chile on 9 and 10 November; and what was the total costs to public funds. [138484]

Mr. Raynsford

I led a very successful trade mission to Brazil and Chile from 5–10 November. We visited Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Santiago. Accompanying me were around a dozen representatives from the British construction industry. The purpose of the mission was to promote British construction exports. In Santiago we met with the Chilean British Chamber, the Minister of Justice, the Under-Secretary for the Economy, Energy and Mining, the Under-Secretary for Finance and the Director General of the Ministry for Public Works and participated in a seminar to promote the use of Public—Private Partnerships to facilitate greater investment in public infrastructure. A large number of UK construction companies are now pursuing the opportunities opened up during this mission. While I was in Santiago, I took the opportunity to address the Canning House conference on Chile and the EU which coincided with my visit. Other speakers from the UK included Baroness Hooper, Chris Patten and Lord Garel—Jones.

The cost to public funds of the mission to Brazil and Chile was approximately £27,400. This covered the cost of my travel and accommodation and that of four officials who accompanied me. It also included part sponsorship of the seminar to promote Public—Private Partnerships and the cost of the Chairman of the Movement for Innovation joining the Chilean part of the mission to discuss plans to promote the principles of "Rethinking Construction" in Chilean construction projects.