HC Deb 20 May 2004 vol 421 c1109W
Mr. Laws

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her latest estimate is of the amount spent by her Department on official entertainment in each year from 1996–97 to 2004–05. [169004]

Alun Michael

The information for Defra is as follows:

2001–02 1239,000
2002–03 1450,000
2003–04 1428,000
1 Outturn.
2 Provisional outturn.

It should be noted that Defra only came into being in 2001. An estimate is not provided for 2004–05 since specific budgets are not set for this type of expenditure.

The figures include expenditure on official entertainment made in accordance with the principles set out in "Government Accounting" and can range from tea and biscuits to catering for major events at which the Department—at official or ministerial level—discusses a range of issues from high-level policy issues to highly technical, legal and scientific issues. All such expenditure is made in accordance with published departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety.