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Refreshment Department

Volume 986: debated on Friday 20 June 1980

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asked the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, as representing the House of Commons Commission, to what extent the responsibility for authorising the choice of food supplies is delegated to officers of the Refreshment Department.

I have been asked to reply.This is a matter of day-to-day management for which the General Manager of the Refreshment Department is responsible, but the Commission would expect him to consider carefully any views brought to his attention by the Catering Sub-Committee.

asked the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, as representing the House of Commons Commission, what use the Commission proposes to make of the proceeds of the 50 per cent. profit on the cost of items sold in House restaurants and cafeterias.

I have been asked to reply.The 50 per cent. profit is a gross profit, simply reflecting the excess of receipts over the cost of food, drink and other items. Once overtime for permanent banqueting staff, the wages of casual banqueting staff and all overheads (the largest items of which are contract cleaning, staff meals, and repairs and renewals of crockery, cutlery and glassware) are taken into account, it is estimated that the net profit will be very low. It is too early to give a precise estimate, and no decision has so far been taken on the use of any surplus.

asked the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, as representing the House of Commons Commission, what is his estimate of the total cost of permanent and casual staff of the Refreshment Department in salaries and other payments for 1980–81.

I have been asked to reply.The total cost of the permanent staff as shown in the Estimate for the House of Commons (Administration) Vote (Class XIII A) is £1,549,000. This figure does not include payments for overtime working on banqueting. It is impossible to make an estimate of the cost of the casual staff since this depends to a large extent on the demand for banqueting services. The costs of casual staff, like permanent staff overtime for banqueting, are, under the new arrangements, borne on the trading account.

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what procedures are pursued by the Catering Sub-Committee in authorising the choice of food supplies to the Refreshment Department.

I have been asked to reply.This is one of many matters on which the Sub-Committee would expect to be consulted before any major changes of policy could be put into effect; equally, the Sub-Committee could initiate inquiries of its own if it thought fit.

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when and in what document trading accounts of the Refreshment Department were made available to hon. Members ; and in respect of what period.

I have been asked to reply.The accounts for 1977–78 were published in the first report of the Select Committee on House of Commons (Services) of Session 1978–79.

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what were the total trading receipts of the Refreshment Department in the year 1979–80.

I have been asked to reply.The total trading receipts in the Refreshment Department for 1979–80 were £1,039,870. This figure is subject to audit.

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what was the total cost of permanent and casual staff of the Refreshment Department in salaries and other payments, respectively, in 1979–80.

I have been asked to reply.The total cost of all staff in the Refreshment Department in salaries and other payments in 1979–80 was £1,172,604, of which £1,143,758 was for permanent staff and £28,846 for casual staff. These figures are subject to audit.