§ Mr. Cormack
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the cost to public funds of canteen and other catering facilities provided by his 435W Department for employees (a) in London, and (b) elsewhere during 1976 and 1977, respectively; and what contribution was made towards the cost of meals provided for and consumed by employees during working hours by those employees in the same years.
§ Mr. Merlyn Rees
Staff restaurants for Home Office employees, as for other civil servants, are provided free of charge with premises, equipment and services. The cost to public funds of this provision is not readily available.
Each restaurant is currently entitled to a graduated subsidy designed to encourage efficiency; and, in addition some units receive reimbursement for special operating expenses. The cost of these cash subsidies, which is readily available only by financial years, was:—
1976–77 1977–78(April to September) London (Inner London Weighting Area) £20,300 £20,308 Elsewhere £6,109 £2,711
The contribution by employees, expressed in terms of the total value of food sales—exclusive of VAT—during the same periods was:—
1976–77 1977–78(April to September) London (Inner London Weighting Area) £62,354 £42,484 Elsewhere £32,915 £17,048
Staff messes in Prison Service establishments differ slightly from these arrangements in that they do not receive cash subsidies; instead the catering staff wages are met from public funds and a small surcharge added to meal prices as a contribution to these costs. This repayment to the Exchequer amounted to £28,000 in 1976–77 and £15,500 in the first half of 1977–78.