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Publications

Norman Baker: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission if the Commission will make it its policy that daily issues of the Questions Book and Hansard are not issued to individual members unless specifically requested by their office. [222335]

Sir Archy Kirkwood: It is already the longstanding custom and practice of the House that papers are only provided to hon. Members when they specifically request them, either on demand, or in the case of business papers and Hansard by completion of a demand form at the beginning of a new Parliament.

Recycling Points

Norman Baker: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission (1) if he will list the locations on the parliamentary estate of (a) glass and (b) metal can recycling points provided for the use of (i) hon. Members and staff and (ii) house authorities; and what volume of each material was collected from these points in the last year for which figures are available; [222265]

(2) what progress has been made on installing more glass and metal can recycling points in the parliamentary estate. [222266]

Sir Archy Kirkwood: Glass is collected at the waste centres in Peers Court, 1 Canon Row Courtyard and 7 Millbank. Metals are extracted from our general waste by our recycling contractor at their works, so specific metal recycling points are not needed on the parliamentary estate.

In 2003–04 we recycled 173 tonnes of glass and 50 tonnes of metal.

The waste recycling contract is currently being re-tendered. The new contract will enable us to extend our recycling.

Refreshment Department

Norman Baker: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission if he will estimate (a) the quantity and (b) the percentage of all food products sourced by the Refreshment Department from suppliers outside the UK, broken down by (i) fruit, (ii) vegetables, (iii) bottled water, (iv) food products and (v) alcoholic drinks. [222302]

Sir Archy Kirkwood: All suppliers of foods and beverages used by the Refreshment Department are based in the UK, but the produce used by the Department originates from many countries. No record is kept of the country of origin of supplies.

The availability of UK produced fresh fruit and vegetables is generally highly seasonal, and so use of imported produce varies throughout the year. Purchases of fruit and vegetables are recorded in many different weights and measures which cannot be converted into one standard format for reporting purposes. It is therefore not possible to estimate the percentage or quantity of fruit and vegetables originating from outside the UK.
 
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In the 11 months to the end of February 2005, the Refreshment Department purchased over 140,100 litres of bottled water, none of which was imported.

The Refreshment Department uses over 3,000 different food products in its catering operations, but not all are in stock at any given time; it has therefore not been possible to estimate the total proportion of food products that originate from outside the UK. However, the Department estimates that less than 5 per cent. of its fresh meat and poultry purchases originate from outside the UK. Most dairy products, including cheeses, and all fresh egg supplies are of UK origin.

The Refreshment Department purchases alcoholic drinks for sale in the House of Commons catering outlets, and also for the House of Commons souvenir shops to sell to visitors to Parliament. Over the past 11 months, the Refreshment Department purchased 38,051 litres of beers and ciders, of which 10,992 litres (29 per cent.) were imported, and a total of 4,519 litres of aperitifs, fortified wines and spirits, of which 358 litres (8 per cent.) were imported. Of the total wine purchases of almost 57,000 litres during the past 11 months, over 54,000 litres (95.3 per cent.) were produced outside the UK.

Norman Baker: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission what quantity of alcoholic drinks, in litres, has been purchased for sale (a) in parliamentary bars and (b) by the Refreshment Department at catering functions on the parliamentary estate in each year since 1975. [222303]

Sir Archy Kirkwood: The Refreshment Department does not purchase drinks for specific trading areas, but issues goods as required from its central store. The quantity of alcoholic drinks consumed in the parliamentary bars was 50,474 litres in 2003–04 and 40,900 litres in the 11 months to February 2005. Consumption at functions catered or supplied by the Refreshment Department was 31,563 litres in 2003–04 and 28,169 litres in the 11 months to February 2005. No figures are available for previous years.

Norman Baker: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission what the Commission's policy is on the sourcing of beer for sale (a) in parliamentary bars and (b) by the Refreshment Department at catering functions on the parliamentary estate, with particular reference to sourcing from small independent UK brewers. [222304]

Sir Archy Kirkwood: The Refreshment Department regularly seeks the advice of the Catering Committee on the sourcing of beers for sale through its catering outlets. In the House of Commons bars, the Department offers for sale one draught ale, generally changed weekly, that is specifically sourced from a member of the Society of Independent Brewers and supplied by their distributor, East West Ales. The Department also sells beers from Young's and Co. (Wandsworth) in certain bars. Other beers sold throughout the House of Commons bars and at functions catered by the Refreshment Department are supplied by the Department's principal nominated beer supplier. This contract, which is currently in the process of being competitively tendered in accordance with the
 
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EU Procurement Regulations, and has been advertised in appropriate trade publications, includes a requirement for the supply of a regularly changed British regional ale, to be expressly purchased by the Department's nominated beer supplier for supply to the House of Commons.

The Refreshment Department is also in the process of tendering a contract for the supply of a House of Commons gift ale pack for sale through its souvenir and gift shops. The Society of Independent Brewers have provided a list of all their members who produce bottled beers and these producers have been invited with others to attend a meeting with the Refreshment Department's Purchasing Manager.

Norman Baker: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission what progress has been made by the Director of Catering Services in investigating the feasibility of implementing a strategy to minimise food miles as part of the Refreshment Department's food procurement objectives. [222305]

Mr. Dennis Turner: I have been asked to reply.

I recognise that many customers of the Refreshment Department are supportive of sustainable food initiatives. The Refreshment Department's business plan for 2005–06 acknowledges the need to develop a formal policy on this matter. Subsequent to my answer of 26 October 2004, Official Report, column 1095W, the Refreshment Department Purchasing Manager had a constructive initial discussion with Sustain, an organisation formed in 1999 by merging the National Food Alliance and the Sustainable Agriculture Food and Environment Alliance. Sustain are keen to assist the Department in the development of a responsible purchasing policy that supports sustainable food supplies, including the consideration of food miles. Further progress has been delayed pending completion of organisational changes within Sustain, but the Refreshment Department hopes to be able to pursue this matter over the next few months.

Norman Baker: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission if he will estimate how many of the plastic bags issued by the Refreshment Department for customer use are (a) reused and (b) put into the general waste either within or outside the parliamentary estate each day. [222306]

Sir Archy Kirkwood: It is not possible to make an estimate.

Security Passes

Norman Baker: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission how many House passes have been held in each year since 1975, broken down by House department. [222075]

Sir Archy Kirkwood: Data are not kept on the issue of passes by year and cannot be broken down by department of the House.
 
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