Chauffeurs used to ferry red boxes

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A Government department used chauffeur-driven cars more than 150 times to transport boxes containing documents for Ministers, official figures show.

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 which is part of the department.

The service is largely used for transporting diplomatic bags, Queen’s Messengers to courier documents to embassies and consulates and other classified material, according to the FCO.

Figures released to Parliament last year revealed the FCO 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 – which the FCO also has access to.

The number of journeys made in 2013-14 emerged following a written question from Labour’s Lyn Brown.