Tuesday 16 January 2018

UK asks delegations to pay their way at lakeside golf hotel

Luke Baker

Two days of accommodation at the lakeside golf hotel in Northern Ireland don't come cheap – and Britain has irritated its fellow Group of Eight states by sending them hefty advance bills for the summit it's hosting there.

In charging £1,000 (€1,175) for each delegate apart from the leader and a chief adviser, Britain says it is only doing what other G8 host countries have done.

But other members of the club of wealthy nations, some of whom may send a support staff of 12-15 people, see it differently.

"As far as we know, this has never happened before," said an official from one European delegation, adding that London had only mentioned the issue of delegate fees a few days ago. "It's unprecedented and hasn't been handled very well. The Japanese and Americans are saying: 'Hold on a minute, this hasn't been budgeted for.' There's some outrage."

An official from another delegation said Britain was doing itself no favours by being seen to "profit" from holding the G8 – an event that could boost the local economy by £40m (€47m), according to research carried out for Barclays Bank.

A spokesperson for the British government defended the arrangements for the gathering:

"It would be unprecedented for a G8 nation to foot the bill for the entire cost of delegations attending a summit," they said.

Irish Independent

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