UK Politics

Parliament food and drink costs taxpayers £7m

Houses of Parliament
Image caption Food and drink prices in Parliament were increased earlier this month

Taxpayers subsidised Parliament's bars and restaurants to the tune of £7m last year - £600,000 less than in 2011/12.

The Commons normally adds income from its gift shops to the official figure making the costs look smaller.

But without that income the operation ran a deficit of £4.9m in 2012/13, an FOI request revealed.

The House of Lords said that, excluding revenue from functions and retail sales, its eight catering outlets cost £2.3m.

That added up to a reduction of around £18,000 on the previous year, while the Commons hospitality bill was down to £5.5m.

Prices in Commons bars and restaurants were increased this month in an effort to reduce the burden on the public purse.

A House spokeswoman said: "The cost to the House arises because of the irregular hours and unpredictability of parliamentary business.

"Food and drink prices were substantially increased in 2010 and are benchmarked against similar outlets outside the House.

"The costs to the House have in fact been reduced in each year since 2003 (excepting only 2010/11 when there was relatively little demand during the election period and in one other year), and we are determined to reduce it further."

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