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Drinks sales (2016)

Request

  1. The total amount of money spent on alcohol by MPs, staff and visitors to House of Commons bars and restaurants, broken down for 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16.
  2. The amounts of money in 1a) broken down by type of alcohol (e.g. £12,980 on beer, £54,975 on spirits, £91,250 on wine), broken down for 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16.
  3. A full breakdown of the number and brand of alcoholic drinks sold in 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16 (e.g. the number of pints of Guinness, the number of bottles of champagne, the number of litres of Gordon's gin, the number of bottles of Sauvignon Blanc, the number of bottles of Becks, the number of litres of Bailey's, the number of bottles of Merlot, etc.)
  4. The operating profit/loss of House of Commons bars and restaurants, broken down for 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16.

 

Response

  1. The total amount of money spent on alcohol by MPs, staff and visitors to House of Commons bars and restaurants, broken down for 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16.
    and
  2. The amounts of money in 1a) broken down by type of alcohol (e.g. £12,980 on beer, £54,975 on spirits, £91,250 on wine), broken down for 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16.
    and
  3. A full breakdown of the number and brand of alcoholic drinks sold in 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16 (e.g. the number of pints of Guinness, the number of bottles of champagne, the number of litres of Gordon's gin, the number of bottles of Sauvignon Blanc, the number of bottles of Becks, the number of litres of Bailey's, the number of bottles of Merlot, etc.)
    This information is held by the House of Commons.
    2013/14
    2014/15
    2015/16
     
  4. The operating profit/loss of House of Commons bars and restaurants, broken down for 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16.
    This information is held by the House of Commons.
    The costs of catering for 2013/14 and 2014/15, broken down by outlet, is already publically available on the parliamentary website. As this information is reasonably accessible to you otherwise than under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), your request is refused. In refusing your request the House is applying the exemption set out in section 21 (1) and (2) (a) of the FOIA. This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test does not apply.
    The financial year 2015/16 was an election year, so lower sales were expected which in turn affected costs.
    A breakdown of venue costs for 2015/16.


The House accepts that there is a great deal of public interest in the prices of food and drink sold from venues across the parliamentary estate and we are frequently asked about the ‘catering subsidy’.

It is important to note that catering services for the House of Commons are provided by an in-house team who do not provide a subsidised service in the commercial sense of the word. Some venues make a profit, referred to as contribution because it contributes to reducing overall costs. In other venues, the cost of providing the service does exceed the income received in sales due to the irregular hours and unpredictability of parliamentary business. The contribution or cost of each venue is calculated by subtracting the food and operational costs from the catering sales. Rather than a subsidy, the House monitors the contribution or cost of each catering venue, which include cafeterias, dining rooms, restaurants and bars.

Prices of food and drink are regularly benchmarked against appropriate external comparators. The cost of catering is reported yearly as a transparency publication, available on our parliamentary pages. You will see that these costs have been more than halved since the beginning of the last Parliament, from £6m in 2010/11 to £2.4m in 2014/15. From this financial year onwards, catering costs broken down by venue will also be available on these pages.

Please also note that the customers who use the on-site catering venues do include some of the 650 elected Members of Parliament. However, they also include around 14,500 other pass-holders (MPs’ staff, House staff, civil servants, contractors, Peers, members of the Press Gallery, etc.) as well as a large number of non-pass holding visitors to Parliament.