§ Lord Brougham and Vaux
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they are able to make the Banqueting House, Whitehall, available more widely for functions.
§ The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Lord Belstead)
We have recently reviewed the criteria for the use of the Banqueting House and have decided to extend the privilege of holding functions there to a wider group of suitable organisations, including for a trial period reputable private companies. Any function must be in keeping with the dignity and traditions of the Banqueting House, which has the status of a Royal Palace, and will not interfere with the normal daytime admission of the public. Applications will now be considered in respect of:
- (a) Receptions and dinners held by the Government, government agencies, local government organisations, individual local authorities and other reputable public bodies; Foreign and Commonwealth Government receptions and dinners.
- (b) Registered charities of a national character, normally on distinctive occasions, for fund-raising or other appropriate activities.
- (c) Receptions or dinners, by non-profit making commercial and industrial organisations for the promotion of export trade or other suitable purposes.
- (d) Functions organised by professional institutions.
- (e) Cultural and learned events, such as lectures and concerts.
- (f) Receptions and dinners given by reputable private companies, but not to promote products or services.
- (g) Functions associated with bookings at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre.
Permission to use the Banqueting House will be at the absolute discretion of the Department of the Environment. All functions will take place in the evenings except concerts and lectures which may be permitted in the day-time provided that the Banqueting House can remain open to the general public.
Appropriate charges for the use of the hall will be preferred.
The following events will still not be acceptable:
- (i) dances
- (ii) party political or politically controversial gatherings
- (iii) use by private individuals, except in very exceptional circumstances.