Spending on MPs' chairs criticised


Portcullis House stock

Parliamentary authorities have been criticised for having "expensive tastes" after it was disclosed that chairs for a canteen popular with MPs and peers cost taxpayers almost £33,000.

The Scandinavian-designed chairs, which cost almost £110 each, were placed in the atrium of the Portcullis House building for MPs and peers using the office building's restaurants and a popular coffee shop.

Some 300 of the chairs, made by Rabami (RBM), were purchased in November last year and details of the cost were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

The RBM website describes the Noor model chosen by the Parliamentary authorities as a "contemporary classic that marks a new beginning in vitalising spaces and relations" providing "classic Scandinavian quality and functionality".

The 300 black, upholstered chairs purchased in November last year, cost £32,955 excluding VAT.
The figure emerged after it was disclosed MPs spent £250,000 of taxpayers' cash on portraits of politicians since 1995.

Taxpayers' Alliance chief executive Jonathan Isaby said: "It seems that the parliamentary authorities have expensive tastes, whether that is when purchasing chairs or commissioning portraits, and taxpayers are the ones footing the bill.

"Parliament should have gone for better value when making this purchase in order to keep costs on the estate under control."

A House of Commons spokeswoman said: "The chairs in Portcullis House needed to be replaced as they were no longer fit for normal use, with regular faults being reported.

"The new chairs were selected through a competitive tender and offered the highest value for money and quality. A discount was applied as the old chairs were recycled."

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