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Catering outlets - budgets and menus (2017)

Request

  1. What has been the annual budget for the catering and bar facilities at The Palace of Westminster for the last five years this should include staffing and utilities year on year.
  2. What is the income from these facilities.
  3. A sample menu with prices
  4. Drinks menu and tariff.

 

Response

Please note that our response only deals with the catering venues for which the House of Commons is responsible. Some venues in the Palace of Westminster are the responsibility of the House of Lords, which is a separate public authority for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act, therefore you may wish to also consider forwarding your request to them.

  1. What has been the annual budget for the catering and bar facilities at the Palace of Westminster for the last five years? This should include staffing and utilities, year on year.
    This information is held by the House of Commons. 
    Table containing details of the annual budget for the catering and bar facilities for which the House of Commons is responsible.
    The annual budget figures are broken down by the cost of catering, staff salaries, and other costs. Please note, the House of Commons Catering Service holds these records by financial periods only, rather than calendar year. Therefore the data attached is for the 2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17 financial years.
  2. What is the income from these facilities?
    This information is held by the House of Commons.  Information about income and costs for all the House of Commons Catering Services, since 2010, is publicly available on the parliamentary website.
    As the information you request is reasonably accessible to you otherwise than under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 your FOI request is refused. In refusing your request the House is applying the exemption set out in section 21 (1) and (2) (a) of the FOI Act. This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test does not apply.
    Information relating to income and costs for the 2016/17 financial year will be published and made available by August 2017. The information you have requested is being withheld under section 22 (intended for future publication) of the Act. Section 22 is a qualified exemption, and accordingly we have to consider whether the public interest is in withholding the information or in disclosing it. The arguments for and against disclosure are detailed below.
    The general argument in favour of releasing information is that there is a public interest in being able to scrutinise aspects of the House of Commons where that information might be easy to access and will not prejudice the House. Against disclosure the argument is the public interest in permitting public authorities to publish information in a manner and form and at a time of their own choosing.  It is a part of the effective conduct of public affairs that the general publication of information is a conveniently planned and managed activity within the reasonable control of public authorities.  Where the decision has been made in principle to publish, there is a reasonable entitlement to make arrangements to do so.
  3. A sample menu with prices
    and
  4. Drinks menu and tariff.
    This information is held by the House of Commons. In the interests of transparency, the House of Commons is committed to publishing sample summer and winter menus and tariffs for Catering Services’ venues periodically throughout the year, this information is available on our transparency pages.
    As the information you request is reasonably accessible to you otherwise than under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 your FOI request is refused. In refusing your request the House is applying the exemption set out in section 21 (1) and (2) (a) of the FOI Act. This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test does not apply.
    Information relating to menus and tariffs for Spring/Summer 2017 will be published and made available by June 2017. The information you have requested is being withheld under section 22 (intended for future publication) of the Act. Section 22 is a qualified exemption, and accordingly we have to consider whether the public interest is in withholding the information or in disclosing it. The arguments for and against disclosure are detailed below.
    The general argument in favour of releasing information is that there is a public interest in being able to scrutinise aspects of the House of Commons where that information might be easy to access and will not prejudice the House. Against disclosure the argument is the public interest in permitting public authorities to publish information in a manner and form and at a time of their own choosing. It is a part of the effective conduct of public affairs that the general publication of information is a conveniently planned and managed activity within the reasonable control of public authorities. Where the decision has been made in principle to publish, there is a reasonable entitlement to make arrangements to do so.

Please also note that the customers who use these venues include around 15,500 pass-holders (MPs’ staff, House staff, civil servants, contractors, Peers, members of the Press Gallery, etc.), as well as MPs. The customer base also includes over a million non-pass holding visitors to Parliament. Food and drink prices are regularly reviewed and set at levels benchmarked against similar outlets outside of Parliament.