Furniture worth almost £28,000 has been purchased by parliamentary authorities for an atrium in Portcullis House, it has emerged.
New sofas, chairs and tables appeared in the Westminster office building on Monday morning in place of a water feature which was recently removed.
It is understood that the furniture bill amounted to £27,766, excluding VAT, with the funds taken from an existing budget.
Eight armchairs worth more than £1,000 each from manufacturer Orangebox are among the new pieces of furniture, the PA news agency believes.
Other pieces include four teal sofas, six tan leather chairs and several coffee and side tables.
A House of Commons spokesman said: “Portcullis House is a hugely popular and valued building on the estate used by MPs and staff for dining, cafe facilities and as a meeting place.
“In recent years Portcullis House has become a central point for parliamentary business. In view of the increasing demand, we have adapted the courtyard to increase its capacity.”
I see House authorities have brought in sofas and luxury armchairs to the Atrium in Portcullis House. I'm not a skinflint but really?? I hope these are donated/pro nono as an advert not taxpayers' money.
— Therese Coffey (@theresecoffey) February 17, 2020
Cabinet minister Therese Coffey criticised the new furniture, writing on Twitter: “I see House authorities have brought in sofas and luxury armchairs to the Atrium in Portcullis House. I’m not a skinflint but really??
“I hope these are donated/pro nono (sic) as an advert not taxpayers’ money.”
The Work and Pensions Secretary added: “These are the same House authorities that don’t provide appropriate office chairs or lighting for a working environment, helped by the fact that we are in a Royal Palace and not technically subject to health and safety legislation (though they take a lot of it seriously).”
Parliament disclosed last month that it spent more than £134,000 replacing a broken water feature in the atrium of Portcullis House, Buzzfeed reported.