Revenue and Customs: Visits Abroad

Treasury written question – answered on 7th April 2010.

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Photo of Philip Hammond Philip Hammond Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff at HM Revenue and Customs have visited (a) Barbados, (b) Vanuatu, (c) St. Lucia, (d) Spain, (e) Turkey, (f) Venezuela, (g) New Zealand, (h) Australia, (i) Spain, (j) Cyprus, (k) Jamaica, (l) Malta, (m) Sri Lanka, (n) China, (o) Japan and (p) the United Arab Emirates on official business in each of the last three years; and what the cost was of visits to each destination.

Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Digital Britain) (also HM Treasury), Financial Secretary (HM Treasury) (also in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) staff may travel overseas where it is necessary to deliver the Department's objectives, including on fiscal fraud enforcement, enforcement of prohibition and restrictions, and the provision of mutual administrative assistance.

Information disaggregated by country is not available, as publication of this information could compromise and prejudice the Department's compliance work.

Aggregated information from HMRC's central travel contract on the number of HMRC staff who travelled to any of the countries in question, and the overall cost of air travel and hotel accommodation is set out in the following table.

Number of staff Cost (£)
2007-08 250 244,834
2008-09 282 392,829
April 2009 to December 2009 138 165,664

Information on other travel costs and expenses incurred by HMRC staff while abroad is only available at disproportionate cost.

On occasion, for operational reasons, HMRC staff may book their travel through means other than the Department's travel contract. For example, this may be due to the need to travel at short notice, with colleagues from other organisations or to take advantage of special deals for cheaper flight tickets available elsewhere. Information on the number of staff who travelled to the destinations in question having booked travel in this way, and the expenditure incurred in doing so, is available only at disproportionate cost.

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