Catering Services in the House of Commons

Written evidence submitted by Laurence Robertson MP

I should like to make the following submission.

The catering throughout the Palace is of mixed standard. The Churchill Restaurant provides good food, though from a limited menu and at restaurant prices. Service recently has been slow. The Strangers and members Ding Rooms, again, provide good food from limited menus at restaurant prices. The Adjournment I would assess in a similar way. In my view there should be no attempt to increase prices.

The Strangers café provides sub-standard food. On occasions, it is literally uneatable. The choice is also limited. It should be noted that mainly staff use this café and any increase in price would be borne by them. In my view, the poor food reflects the current low prices. I would say the Debate is similar. The description on the Parliamentary web-site has to be a joke! Food in 1 Parliament Street is a little better.

Of the bars, Strangers provides good value for money. The prices are cheaper than in pubs but this would be because the bar is probably not tied to a pub chain (eg Punch, Enterprise etc) whereas many pubs are.

As I say, the standards of catering in the Palace is mixed and I do not, therefore, believe that price increases can be justified.

I hope this is helpful.

September 2010