Scottish Parliament bar to shut at night over cost concern

man drinking beer Scottish Parliament bosses want to run a bar service which does not rely on subsidy

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The Scottish Parliament is shutting its bar and restaurant - known to MSPs as the White Heather Club - in the evenings, on cost grounds.

Holyrood bosses said the £50,000 taxpayer subsidy needed to run the service could no longer be justified.

Instead, £75,000 is being spent on a new, smaller evening lounge, in the hope the existing one can make money through holding receptions.

The parliament's existing restaurant will continue to operate in daytime.

The announcement was made as First Minister Alex Salmond was giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry on press standards.

The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body, which oversees the running of Holyrood, said it would put £75,000 into the new "Queensberry House lounge", with the parliament's catering contractor, Sodexo, also investing £50,000.

It is hoped the investment can be recouped within two years, under a plan to see the evening service operate without being supported by a subsidy.

The existing bar and restaurant will continue to operate during the day, as normal, although it will open for evening dinner service two nights a month.

The rest of the time, it will host MSP-sponsored events.

A Scottish Parliament spokesman said: "This is part of an overall strategy to eliminate over time any subsidy for the evening catering service."

The unofficial title of the current Holyrood bar takes its name from popular Scottish TV variety show, The White Heather Club, which ran during the 60s.

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