Backbench Business — House of Commons Administration and Savings Programme

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 2:22 pm on 8th November 2012.

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Photo of Robert Halfon Robert Halfon Conservative, Harlow 2:22 pm, 8th November 2012

This is where the disagreement lies. I think that we have reached a happy compromise and that we should go this far and no further. The Commission is suggesting that businesses will have special privileges to hire out rooms. My right hon. Friend said that if people are rich they should be able to see some special paintings in the House of Commons. That is wrong. This is our Parliament. We should not make a distinction between people with money and people without when deciding who sees which parts of Parliament.

I turn to savings. I have already talked about overseas trips: if a small percentage—20%, for example—was cut, we could save £250,000 a year. Another £50,000 a year is wasted on food waste. Have we ever considered closing one of the dining rooms, for example, because often the dining rooms are not used?