Backbench Business — House of Commons Administration and Savings Programme

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 12:38 pm on 8th November 2012.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of John Thurso John Thurso Chair, Finance and Services Committee 12:38 pm, 8th November 2012

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for those comments. On his point about catering “subsidy”, the actual sale prices in most of our outlets are comparable to either, in the case of the dining rooms, private sector outlets or, in the case of the cafes, a normal work canteen. The prime cost is that of food, which in the trade we used to call the kitchen cost, and that is comparable to similar commercial operations, so the gross profit, or kitchen profit, is comparable. The problem is that we occupy the facilities for only part of the week, so for the remainder of the week they cost money because they are serviced and there are staff. Therefore, the gross profit is insufficient to cover the total fixed cost, and on that basis we have a subsidy. I think that it is an appropriate subsidy, particularly if we are looking at this debate. Equally, his point that we should be reasonably expected to reduce that subsidy by the way we operate in order to give the best value is absolutely correct.