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Ministerial red boxes get chauffeur service

A GOVERNMENT department used chauffeur-driven cars more than 150 times to transport boxes of documents for ministers.

The Foreign Office (FCO) has disclosed it used the London Car Service for 151 journeys to move ministerial red boxes during 2013/14.

Ministers made 1,446 trips in the same period using the service, which is operated by FCO Services - an executive agency in the department.

The service is largely used for transporting diplomatic bags, Queen's Messengers of documents to embassies and consulates.

Figures released to Parliament last year revealed the FCO, through FCO Services, spent £76,936 on the London Car Service in 2010/11, £148,850 in 2011/12 and £144,698 in 2012/13.

The London service is in addition to the Government Car Service - a fleet of cars provided to ministers and senior officials .

The number of journeys emerged after a question from Labour's Lyn Brown.

She asked government departments how many journeys their ministers had made using the Government Car Service and how many for transporting red boxes.

Foreign Office Minister David Lidington, said: "Ministers do not make regular use of the Government Car Service and we do not record the times when it may be used by ministers."

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