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Departmental Employees

Mr. Hawkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) special advisers, (b) task force members and (c) review body members his Department employs; what are the total salaries and benefits of (a) to (c); and what was the equivalent cost prior to 1 May 1997. [26177]

Mr. Robin Cook: My Department employs two special advisers. Details were set out in the answer given to the hon. Member by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 13 November 1997, Official Report, columns 615-17.

For information on the total pay bill for special advisers, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Members for Gordon (Mr. Bruce) and for Kingston and Surbiton (Mr. Davey) by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 25 November 1997, Official Report, columns 472-73.

No task force members are employed by my Department, and we are not responsible for any review bodies.

29 Jan 1998 : Column: 390

Ministerial Visits

Mr. Howard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he made a payment in respect of the use of a Government flight by Ms Gaynor Regan when she accompanied him on his trip to Dublin in November. [26219]

Mr. Robin Cook: I was informed of the cost of Ms Regan's flight to Dublin on 15 January and arranged for payment to be made the same day.

Mrs. McGuire: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was spent on (a) official foreign travel and (b) incidentals for (i) spouses and (ii) partners of the previous two Secretaries of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in each year of their tenure. [26316]

Mr. Robin Cook: The information requested for the financial years 1994-95, 1995-96 and 1996-97 is detailed in the table. Data for previous years are not readily available but I will write to my hon. Friend shortly with the information and place a copy in the Libraries of the House.

29 Jan 1998 : Column: 389

DatesMinisterVenuePurpose of visitSpouse cost including travel and incidentals (£)
7-10 JulyThe then Foreign Secretary Lord Hurd Italy (Naples)G7 Economic Summit307.84
11-20 SeptemberLord HurdThailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong and JapanBilateral10,495.66
26-29 SeptemberLord HurdUSA (New York)UNGA3,977.66
29-30 SeptemberLord HurdCanadaBilateral209.64
18-19 MarchLord HurdFrance (Carcassonne)EU/FM Informal Meeting966.44
18-28 MarchLord HurdSouth AfricaState Visit2,385.28
7-8 MayLord HurdNorway (Oslo)Accompanying TRH Duke and Duchess of Kent98.16
25-26 JuneLord HurdGermany (Bonn)Anglo-German Summit565.00
8-10 SeptemberThe then Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm RifkindSpain (Santander)EU Ministers Informal Weekend2,310.00
3-12 JanuarySir Malcolm RifkindAzerbaijan, Armenia Uzbekistan, Hong Kong and ChinaBilateral7,366.70
6-12 JanuarySir Malcolm RifkindHong Kong and ChinaBilateral4,956.00
8-10 MarchSir Malcolm RifkindMalta and ItalyBilaterals and EU Foreign Minister's Informal Meeting1,577.50
25-29 MarchSir Malcolm RifkindPoland and Czech RepublicState Visit835.00
8-17 AprilSir Malcolm RifkindBarbados, Jamaica, Mexico, Brazil and BoliviaBilateral12,757.89
6-8 SeptemberSir Malcolm RifkindIrish Republic (Tralee)Informal Meeting of Foreign Ministers724.26
23-27 SeptemberSir Malcolm RifkindUSA (New York)United Nations General Assembly4,454.02
27 October-1 NovemberSir Malcolm RifkindThailand (Bangkok)State Visit(53)150.00
31 October-2 FebruarySir Malcolm RifkindVietnam, Israel UAE and YemenBilateral(53)7,500.00
31 January-2 FebruarySir Malcolm RifkindSwitzerland (Davons)World Economic Forum4,405.00
15-16 MarchSir Malcolm RifkindNetherlands (Apledoorn)EU Information Foreign Ministers Meeting848.48

(53) Estimate.

29 Jan 1998 : Column: 391

Permanent Settlement Visa

Mr. Rendel: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to review the current price of a permanent settlement visa for the United Kingdom. [26170]

29 Jan 1998 : Column: 392

Mr. Fatchett: Fees, which are set to recover the cost of processing applications world wide to minimise the burden on the taxpayer, are reviewed annually. We continually look at ways to make efficiency savings to enable us to reduce entry clearance fees. The current fee for a settlement visa is £240. This was introduced on 10 June 1997.