£7m UK parliament bar costs revealed

The latest figures have revealed that last year’s bill for subsidising the UK Parliament’s bars and restaurants was more than £7 million.

ParliamentThe figures also showed that the British taxpayer contributed around £600,000 less than in 2011-12.

The sales of Parliamentary souvenirs and gifts are used to offset the spending on the bar and catering services, which helps the costs look smaller.

But these latest figures, which have been released following a freedom of information request, show that without the souvenir income the subsidised bars and restaurants ran at a loss of £4.9m in 2012-13. That was down from a cost of £5.5m the previous year.

The House of Lords revealed that, excluding revenue from functions and retail sales, its eight catering outlets cost £2.3 million – a reduction of around £18,000.

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.”

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Scrapping the generous subsidies for food and drink in Parliament is long overdue.

“In opposition David Cameron promised to axe this relic of an arrangement, yet the bill today remains an enormous drain on taxpayers.

“It’s unacceptable that while many families are struggling to make ends meet they are still paying for politicians’ booze and dining.”

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