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House of Commons Hansard
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Parliamentary Press Gallery: Catering
11 November 2009
Volume 499
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To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission (1) how much public subsidy has been paid in respect of meals provided in the Press Gallery cafeteria since 2004; [298908]

(2) what the notional value was of the facilities used by newspaper journalists in the House of Commons in the latest period for which figures are available;

(3) whether newspapers make payments for the use of facilities provided to them in the House of Commons; and if he will make a statement.

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The information requested is as follows:

(a) The Press Gallery Cafeteria closed in May 2007 and the replacement, Moncrieff’s Cafeteria which opened in October 2007, is open to all pass holders. The House does not provide a subsidy for individual eateries and bars although in common with all others, Moncrieff’s benefits from the House funding arrangements. In 2008-09 the overall net cost incurred by the Catering and Retail Directorate in the Department of Facilities was some £6.1 million, in accordance with the budget approved by the Finance and Services Committee. This represents the difference between income and the cost of the services provided. Food and drink pricing is agreed by the Finance and Services Committee, with advice from the Administration Committee.

(b) There is no equivalent rental value for the facilities occupied by newspaper journalists as the Palace of Westminster is unique and held as freehold.

(c) No payment is made for the use of Press Gallery facilities.