UK Politics

French top UK government wine sales

French wines have proved to be most popular for purchases from the UK government's cellars over the past year, a foreign office minister says.

Mark Simmonds told MPs in a written ministerial statement that English wines were the second most popular.

Sales of stock totalled £44,000, according to the first annual statement on use of the wine cellar.

The government's wine cellar escaped the austerity axe in 2011, with a pledge to become "self-financing".

Mr Simmonds said: "The wine cellar has already moved to a self-funding regime, through the sale of some high-value stock."

The wine cellar received £10,519 from other government departments, to help more than cover the wine purchases of £48,955.

The wine cellar, run by the Foreign Office, had its future reviewed after the 2010 election, but survived after it found that the cellar was the cheapest way to supply wine for hospitality events.

The wine is used to help resource government hospitality, business hospitality and entertain visiting dignitaries and heads of state.

It lies beneath a grand London mansion, owned by the Queen and leased to the government.

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