Price of beer in parliament goes up as belt-tightening hits home

By Ian Dunt

Even the Palace of Westminster found itself subject to drastic belt-tightening today, as Commons authorities desperately tried to cut down on expenditure.

Cafeteria prices will go into line with “benchmark workplace venues”, rather than their current subsidised status, dismayed MPs and their staff have been told.

Bar prices will go into line with that of a “competitively-priced high street pub chain”.

The £12 million cuts were agreed by the House of Commons Commission, which is trying to secure an extra five per cent of cuts over that projected for the 2010/11 period.

Estimated spending for the period now stands at £219 million. The Commission is planning in cutting spending by nine per cent by the end of 2012/13.

“This will be an ongoing process and hard decisions will have to be made while continuing to ensure the delivery of effective parliamentary services to members and the public,” Commission spokesman Sir Stuart Bell said.

The select committee travel budget is also set to be cut, by £800,000. A number of programmes and projects will be scaled back and all but essential recruitment will be frozen.