Select Committee on Catering First Report

III. Co-ordination with the House of Lords

50. We are very much aware of the shortage of space in the House of Lords and the difficulties of providing sufficient refreshment facilities for Members and staff of the Lords.[69] There are consequences for the Commons: the survey conducted by the Refreshment Department for the inquiry suggests that 6 per cent of custom in the Commons' refreshment facilities (in terms of covers served) is attributable to Members of the Lords, their staff and House of Lords staff.[70] The Terrace Cafeteria appears to be the preferred outlet,[71] although the Serjeant at Arms suggested that Members of the Lords were "much taken with Portcullis House".[72] Lord Colwyn, Chairman of the House of Lords Refreshment Sub-committee, told us that "historically the Lords have always depended on the catering facilities of the Commons since our own are simply inadequate for the number of Members and staff we have".[73] We accept this point and have no wish to see barriers imposed. In any case, the traffic is not one-way: the Lords Bar and Lords Staff Canteen are regularly used by staff based in the Commons.[74]

51. Evidence—some of it anecdotal—suggested however that a prolonged closure of all Lords refreshment facilities last summer contributed to the intense pressure placed on the Terrace Cafeteria during the summer recess in 2001.[75] We note that the Lords Sub-committee has recommended that at least one Lords refreshment outlet should remain open throughout this year's summer recess, and we welcome this proposal.[76] We also welcome efforts by the Chairman of this Committee and the Chairman of the Lords Refreshment Sub-committee to improve liaison. Officials of the Refreshment Departments in the two Houses have occasional contacts at an informal level. We recommend that there should also be regular formal contact between senior officials in the Refreshment Departments of the two Houses, to co-ordinate provision across the Estate.

69   Q 94. Back

70   Ev 35. Back

71   11% of covers served are to Members of the House of Lords, their staff or House of Lords staff: Ev 36. Back

72   Q 73. Back

73   Ev 23. Back

74   QQ 19 and 107. Back

75   Q 101. Back

76   Q 100. Back

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 17 July 2002