House of Commons: Food

House of Commons Commission written question – answered at on 16 May 2024.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Conservative, South Holland and The Deepings

To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, what the House of Commons' policy is on the procurement of (a) food and (b) drinks produced in Britain for use in its canteens and restaurants.

Photo of Charles Walker Charles Walker Chair, Administration Committee, Chair, Administration Committee

The House of Commons complies with UK legislative standards when procuring food and drinks from suppliers. Its procurement approach supports and where possible prioritises the purchase of food and drink produced in Britain. For example:

  • The Strangers’ Bar offers Members the opportunity to request that a specific cask ale from an independent, regional brewer from their constituency be offered for sale.
  • As much as possible, most fresh products purchased by Catering Services are sourced within the UK. This includes meat, poultry, dairy, bread, eggs and most fruit and vegetables (when in season). Bought-in sandwiches use British chicken and cheese boards feature only British cheese. Milk is sourced locally from a British dairy.
  • There is a mandatory inclusion of wines from England and Wales on wine lists.
  • Speciality cakes and dairy ice cream are only UK-made.
  • Bottled water is from British source.
  • Promotional activity in catering outlets highlights British food by showcasing a rolling programme of regional goods.

Certain regulations, such as the Government’s Procurement Policy Note of December 2020 and increased use of the UK-based Catering Framework, have allowed for additional freedom for spend on goods and services below certain price thresholds. Within the limits of these regulations, the House where possible seeks to hold competitions which only target producers within the UK.

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