Public finance: Cost of Mandelson's Disney trip

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The Independent Online
The cost to the taxpayer of Peter Mandelson's four-day visit to the United States earlier this month, during which he visited Disney World, was pounds 3,450, he revealed last night in a series of written Commons replies to John Redwood, shadow Trade and Industry Secretary, and Francis Maude, shadow spokesman on Culture, Media and Sport.

The Minister without Portfolio, said: "Walt Disney are world leaders in entertainment." He had visited Disney World to learn at first hand from their wide experience, lessons that could be applied to the Millennium Dome project. "I had extensive discussions on technical matters, managing the flow of visitors, service facilities, and other aspects of this highly successful public attraction."

Asked by Mr Redwood how much it would have cost to go to the Paris Disney World, Mr Mandelson said he had particularly wanted to visit the Educational Prototype Community of Tomorrow Centre, in Miami, and he had also been able "to fit in a short programme in Washington", arranged by the embassy, following a private overnight stay on arrival. "A direct cost comparison is not therefore relevant in this case," he said.