House of Lords bar and restaurant subsidy tops £1.3m - FoI

Posted On: 
10th March 2016
Taxpayers subsidised peers' food and drink to the tune of more than £1.3m last year, PoliticsHome can reveal.

The total cost of running the seven bars and restaurants is offset by profits from the Lords’ retail services division.

The deficit, which is filled by public money, amounted to £1,348,673 in 2014/15, an FoI request has revealed. 

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Combined with the subsidy for the House of Commons bars and restaurants, the cost to taxpayers reached above £3.7m.

The figure for the Lords has dropped in recent years, with the deficit £1.95m in 2013/14 and £1.85m in 2012/13.

There was a £2.4m subsidy for catering services to the House of Commons for the year 2014/15. This figure was down from £4.5 million the year before, and £4.9m the year before that.

Dia Chakravarty, Political Director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, attacked the scale of taxpayer support, saying it is "high time" the subsidy stopped.

"It is galling for people to know that their cash is still being used to subsidise the food and drink being enjoyed by peers and their staff. The House of Lords authorities need to reform the way the system works so that taxpayers are no longer propping up what ought to be profitable outlets," she told PoliticsHome. 

"Before he became Prime Minister, David Cameron said he wanted to end that subsidy for Parliament’s bars and restaurants, so it's high time he acted on that promise."

A House of Lords spokesman said: “The House of Lords catering subsidy has been reduced by 32% in cash terms since 2007 and we are working hard to reduce the subsidy even further. Our catering services meet the needs of a working House of Parliament. Due to the unpredictable nature of sittings of the House, and periods where the House doesn’t sit and so revenue is not generated, a subsidy is unavoidable."

He added: “We also pay all staff at least the London Living Wage and provide workplace pensions to our Catering and Retail Service staff.  We are proud to do so but it means our costs are higher than some commercial restaurants.”