§ MR. B. KELLY (Donegal, S.)
asked the Chairman of the Kitchen Committee, Whether the refreshment contractors receive five hundred pounds per annum for plate; five hundred pounds per annum for servants; pay no rent, no rates; have firing, light, and table appointments free of charge; whether they charge higher prices to one class of customers than to another; and, whether he would consider the desirability of 1363 throwing the contract for refreshment open to competition on the next vacancy?
§ SIR WILLIAM HART DYKE (Kent, Dartford)
, in reply, said, that, for a great number of years, a subsidy of £500 had been granted by the House to the refreshment contractor. In 1882 an exhaustive inquiry was made by a Sub-Committee into the whole financial condition of the undertaking of the contractor, and their Report contained a strong recommendation to the Treasury that the subsidy should be increased to £1,000. It was true that the refreshment contractor had no liability as regarded gas, rent, rates, and firing, and that table appointments were found free of charge. As to the objection that higher prices were charged to one class of customers than to another, there was a very slight change made in the charge to officials of the House; in other respects the prices were absolutely uniform. As to the last paragraph of the Question, he believed that whenever a vacancy had occurred in the past the contract had been thrown open to competition; but on the last occasion very few offers had been sent in.