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Us taxpayers projected to pay £3 million subsidy this year for bars in Parliament.....is this acceptable?

(22 Posts)
theunfairersex Wed 18-Nov-15 09:07:21

According to this report.....

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11024713/6-million-taxpayer-subsidy-for-Parliament-bars.html

.....we taxpayers are to foot a projected bill of some £3 million for bars in parliament this year.

Do people think this is a good use of tax funds when the government are talking about slashing tax credits, and cuts have already left virtually no police on the streets with even bigger cuts to come?

This topic came up out of a thread about whether MP's should be able to vote or debate whilst under the influence of alcohol and subsequently went a bit off topic, which you can find here....

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/in_the_news/2506873-Drunk-MPs-hectoring-Jeremy-Corbyn-in-House-Of-Commons

ragged Wed 18-Nov-15 10:20:56

That article says it's the entire catering service that runs at a deficit, that includes food.

I'd like to see high prices on the booze & more unhealthy foods ,to discourage MPs (long hours already discourage healthy lifestyle) from over-drinking.

Don't like to join in MP bashing otherwise, though.

BarbaraofSeville Wed 18-Nov-15 12:18:20

Totally not acceptable to have alcohol available, especially subsidised.

I work in the public sector and we are not allowed alcohol on the premises (used to be allowed one drink at a Christmas lunch gathering but that got stopped) and we are not allowed to claim for alcohol when away on business).

We are all in it together - my arse.

sleepyhead Wed 18-Nov-15 12:27:16

They can restructure the catering service along the lines of that available to staff at the nearest NHS hospital. Will save them a good chunk of their deficit.

caroldecker Wed 18-Nov-15 14:36:32

The alcohol is not subsidised, the restaurants and bars, which are available to all staff, not just MPs are.

Silverstones Wed 18-Nov-15 14:45:53

This is both fascinating and a worrying waste of someone's time

FOI disclosures for HoP catering

Did you know that white toast is more popular than brown, but sausages are more popular than either, for example?

theunfairersex Wed 18-Nov-15 14:54:42

The alcohol is not subsidised, the restaurants and bars, which are available to all staff, not just MPs are

So why are they subsidised?

Other public employees don't get the same deal.

HoneyDragon Wed 18-Nov-15 14:58:55

I initially read that as U.S. Taxpayers pay 3million subsidy and got confused as to why that was bad blush grin

caroldecker Wed 18-Nov-15 15:19:19

Many hospital canteens run at a loss because the are open all hours.

ArcheryAnnie Wed 18-Nov-15 15:53:41

The parliamentary estate is huge, is situated in one of the most expensive parts of London, and many, many of the people who work there are either modestly paid, relatively low-paid, or even unpaid (ie: the huge army of interns that politics ruins on). The hours are more regulated now, but it's worth remembering that it isn't a 9-5 job, and some very odd hours are worked by many people.

With this in mind it's reasonable to offer what is essentially a series of works canteens to all the people who work there, just as many other workplaces have works canteens. And low cost options are important, because all those modestly-paid, low-paid and unpaid people are working in an area of London where they wouldn't be able to afford other local cafes and restaurants, and also they are in a secure area - the logistics in adding hundreds and hundreds of people having to go in and out of security every lunchtime just isn't practical.

I don't know what the subsidy covers. I think it would be near-impossible to accurately gauge what a commercial rate for lunch would be, as space and location is a huge part of any restaurant or cafe's running costs, and any cafe in Parliament's main building would necessarily be in a Pugin-designed gothic masterpiece that is also part of a World Heritage Site.

People see something happening in Westminster, and assume that it only applies to MPs and Lords. It really doesn't. There's thousands of other people it also applies to.

caroldecker Wed 18-Nov-15 16:48:01

The subsidy does not cover anything except staying open when there are very few customers. here is the full list of bars/restaurants with menus and costs of dishes.

caroldecker Wed 18-Nov-15 16:51:38

And here is a link to a hospital menu which serves roughly the same food at about the same prices. And staff do pay less than customers at the hospital.

Seriouslyffs Wed 18-Nov-15 16:54:20

I can't be that fussed tbh. The catering service also makes money- you can hire a room at the HoP relatively cheaply and use their catering.
'Hospitality' is complex- it's an easy target for cost cutting, but I find it pretty ridiculous that you're not offered a cup of tea in some 'government run places', yet my local council has a great canteen and free hot drinks and water available.
And I was confused that America was paying too!

BarbaraofSeville Wed 18-Nov-15 18:28:56

I'm not bothered about them being fed and fully understand the security requirements.

It's the hypocrisy about the alcohol that annoys me. Most public sector workers are not allowed to drink at work and rightly so. Those bar prices are very cheap for central London too.

cdtaylornats Wed 18-Nov-15 23:45:33

The food in the ATC Centre I work in is subsidised, and available for 12 hours a day, 363 days a year, some people eat 3 meals a day there and its good food - my favourite sandwich was langoustine and lemon mayo on rocket - so I don't see why it shouldn't be the same in the HoC. Presumably MPs do a fair amount of entertaining and its cheaper than them going out and putting the meal on expenses.

squidzin Thu 19-Nov-15 08:22:52

HoneyDragon Snap me too!

Yes I understand NHS staff also get some form of meal subsidy. BUT they are not making life changing decisions while half-cut. Ban the booze i say.

OP what do you think can be done? Do you want to start a petition on parliament petitions .gov? It's the alcohol culture I worry about rather than catering staff being paid.

In fact I'd also want to check that catering ataff are paid a living wage and are not on Zero Hpurs Contracts.

I would petition for a reveiw, A published report, and scrapping the booze.

QueenLaBeefah Thu 19-Nov-15 08:32:54

It really doesn't bother me.

ArcheryAnnie Thu 19-Nov-15 10:53:21

squidzin because wait staff in Parliament are paid a living wage - if you can call £20k a year in London a living wage, which I don't - newspapers slammed them. Because paying wait staff anything above the absolute minimum is "pampering" the parliamentarians they serve coffee to and wash up afterwards for, apparently. You can't win.

metro.co.uk/2013/02/07/house-of-commons-barista-earns-more-than-a-policeman-3398578/

theunfairersex Thu 19-Nov-15 17:03:28

Obviously you cant all tell the difference between U.S. and Us.

Apologies for your confusion.

Have we verified that the subsidy goes to pay staff wages and not food and drink? I didn't see that conclusively proved anywhere, although I would like to see it. Please show the figures, as I would think staff wages are a different budget completely but I do not know one way or the other for sure.

Personally, I'd like people to be paid the living wage (the real living wage,) or better, so if this means putting prices up in HoC facilities, so be it.

Perhaps they could bring in concessions like Costa etc, as have been brought in in most hospitals so people have to buy overpriced rubbish as there is no other alternative and it helps pay the bills?

As I said in the OP, this thread grew out of one that went off topic before.

The thrust of that thread was that MP's should not be under the influence of alcohol before entering the chamber to either vote or debate, which seems to be something we agree on.

Feel free to contribute on that thread, it's here....

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/in_the_news/2506873-Drunk-MPs-hectoring-Jeremy-Corbyn-in-House-Of-Commons

caroldecker Thu 19-Nov-15 17:25:08

Of course staff wages are not a different budget - I have shown you the costs of the meals served in all the restaurants and in an equivalent hospital and the 2 are equivalent - so any subsidy is the same and generated by having to keep the places open for staff working unusual hours when all other restaurants are shut.
Hospitals have costa as an option, but also reasonable priced restaurants - I would be interested to hear of any that don't.
Not sure we all agree on the alcohol thing though - and even if we did, that does not mean HoP should not serve it.

caroldecker Thu 19-Nov-15 17:26:33

Also, on the other thread, there is no evidence any of those MPs are drunk.

BarbaraofSeville Thu 19-Nov-15 18:27:00

All the lower priced hospital catering that I have had the misfortune to eat has been inedible slop and not that cheap - I wouldn't spend that amount on lunch daily if I was a low paid hospital worker. However a relative is frequently in another city and that hospital catering looks much better.

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