House of Commons cost of catering
In the interests of transparency, the information provided below represents the net cost, after accounting for income, of all the trading activities of the House of Commons Catering Services.
The information provided in the tables represents the net cost, after accounting for income of all the trading activities of the House of Commons Catering Service. The customers who use the on-site catering venues 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. Many of the restaurants and dining room facilities are extensively used to cater for private events at times when they are not required by the House. The net income from such events is included in the figures.
Please 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.
Costs have more than halved since 2011-12, with a significant £0.5m reduction in overall costs since last year, in part due to increased sales income as a result of the House sitting longer hours due to extended Parliamentary business.