In the light of increased financial constraints on the public sector, the House of Commons Commission has agreed to cut £12 million from the budget for the House for the current financial year. This marks the start of a fundamental review of expenditure, which will deliver further savings over the next three years.
The savings to be made this year are nearly five per cent more than the Commission originally planned for the year and will reduce estimated spending for 2010/11 to £219 million. This action follows the Commission’s decision in December 2009 to cut House expenditure by nine per cent by the end of 2012/13.
The initial savings will be made in various ways including: by scaling back a number of programmes and projects, reducing the Parliamentary works programme and freezing all but essential recruitment.
This year £800,000 will be cut from the budget for select committee travel, and to save a further £500,000 catering prices across the House will be raised. This will bring cafeteria prices into line with benchmark workplace venues and bar prices into line with a competitively-priced high street pub chain. More detailed consideration of further reductions in the catering subsidy will be part of a savings programme set up to identify and achieve additional budget reductions over the next three years.
House of Commons Commission spokesman,Sir Stuart Bell, said:
"The Commission fully recognises the need to respond to the economic challenges facing the country and to reduce the cost of the House to the public purse. As a first step we have taken immediate steps to reduce the House budget this year in line with similar reductions taking place elsewhere in the public sector.
"This will be an ongoing process and hard decisions will have to be made while continuing to ensure the delivery of effective parliamentary services to Members and the public."
The House of Commons Commission is the overall supervisory body of the House of Commons Administration. The current membership of the House of Commons Commission is Speaker John Bercow (Chairman), Sir Stuart Bell MP, Nick Harvey MP, Rt Hon Rosie Winterton MP and Rt Hon Sir George Young MP (Leader of the House), One position is vacant.
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