Northern Ireland Office says it spent almost £23,000 to have people talk about inclusiveness for three days in a stately home in England

A conference which saw 42 people assemble at Wilton Park stateley home in England to talk about “inclusiveness” cost the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) £22,690.
Wilton Park's common roomWilton Park's common room
Wilton Park's common room

The June gathering was titled “A more confident and inclusive Northern Ireland”, and involved academics and young people from NI.

A report on the three-day gathering was drawn up in July, which the NIO then circulated to the press on August 4.

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This report on the conference was described by the Plain English Campaign as being so vague and badly-written it made them wonder if life was worth living.

As well as revealing the cost of the conference, the NIO said today: “Wilton Park is a venue for residential conferences and as such attendees were accommodated on site. Participants were expected to pay for their own travel.

“The majority of participants were from Northern Ireland, and the report of their discussions was published at the earliest opportunity following the circulation of a draft for review and consideration.

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“There was no attempt by the NIO to delay or hide the publication of the report, which we elected to publish voluntarily for transparency.”

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