Huffpost UK Politics uk

House Of Commons' Champagne Bill In Huge Rise Under Coalition

Posted: Updated:
CAMERON
Mayor of London Boris Johnson (left) and Conservative Leader David Cameron during a party to celebrate the 180th Anniversary of weekly politics magazine The Spectator, held at the Churchill Hyatt Hotel in central London. | PA

MPs' appetite for champagne has not been affected by the coalition's austerity programme, as parliamentary officials bought in increasingly larger numbers of bottles each year to replenish the House of Commons' stock.

House of Commons officials revealed that they have spent £275,221 buying in more than 25,000 bottles of champagne since the coalition took over in May 2010, which MPs and their staff can enjoy in Parliament's bars and restaurants.

The details were revealed in response to a Freedom of Information request from the Huffington Post UK.

The House of Commons currently has 582 bottles of champagne in stock, at a total worth of £6,513, with officials buying substantially bigger amounts each time to replenish their supplies.

The range of drink officials bought in for MPs to enjoy ranges like Taittinger, Lenoble and the House of Commons' own-brand champagnes, Zonin prosecco and the English sparkling wines Herbert Hall and Camel Valley.

Officials bought in 4,691 bottles in 2010, with the number rising by over 1,000 each year to finally reach 8,082 in 2013, a 72% rise. The House of Commons has a total of £41,077.51 of wine and champagne in its stocks, according to the figures.

Number of bottles bought by the House of Commons

YearNumber of bottles
2010/20114,691
2011/20125,832
2012/20136,600
2013/20148,082
9 pictures of MPs drinking
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

The Bank of England recently revealed that its officials had been buying in much more wine and champagne in the year that Mark Carney took over as governor.

Bank officials spent over £4,126.56 on 444 bottles of wine and champagne in 2012, with the bill increasing to £7,990.20 for 756 bottles the following year. However, even the 756 peak is dwarfed by how much the House of Commons orders in.

The rising demand for champagne comes as Parliament's bars have come under increasing scrutiny as MPs and their staff are able to enjoy taxpayer-subsidized drink. Then Labour MP Eric Joyce was arrested in 2012 after headbutting a Tory during a Commons bar fight.

champagnestocks

Here's what the House of Commons currently has in its reserves

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance said: "Given the message of fiscal responsibility emanating from Westminster, taxpayers would expect the number of champagne bottled purchased to be going down, not up.

“With budgets tight and savings to be found the last thing Parliament needs to worry about is restocking the wine cellar. Parliament hosts many important dignitaries, but with food and booze still subsidised at taxpayers’ expense, tolerance for bills for expensive wine and champagne is in short supply, unlike the drinks.

"The Parliamentary authorities need to get a better deal for taxpayers and cut out wasteful spending.”

A House of Commons spokesman said: “The House has seen an increased number of commercial banqueting events involving external customers in recent years.

"While 2010/11 was an election year when catering activity levels were lower than usual, the increasing trend is to sell more receptions than dinner events which attract higher number of guests and is the reason for increased consumption and sales in alcohol. To accommodate this increase in demand, banqueting has increased its order of champagne stocks.”

Champagne bought by the House of Commons
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Also on HuffPost:

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

Bank of england's champagne bill soars under governor mark carney

BBC News - Parliament food and drink costs taxpayers £7m

Drink Menu Parliament Pub