‘Really?’ Cabinet minister Therese Coffey condemns Parliament over £33,000 spend on ‘luxury’ sofas and armchairs for Portcullis House
- New furniture has appeared in the atrium in Portcullis House at Parliament
- Cabinet minister Therese Coffey criticised the ‘luxury’ sofas and armchairs
- Parliamentary authorities reveal the furniture cost £33,000 including VAT
The Parliamentary authorities are under fire after blowing more than £33,000 on sofas and armchairs.
New sofas, chairs and tables have appeared in the atrium of Portcullis House on the estate.
The furniture was installed after fountains were taken out to create more space for MPs and staff to have meetings in a relaxed environment.
The House of Commons confirmed that the cost of the additions came to £27,766 plus VAT.
But Cabinet minister Therese Coffey criticised the ‘luxury’ purchases. ‘I see House authorities have brought in sofas and luxury armchairs to the Atrium in Portcullis House,’ she tweeted.
‘I’m not a skinflint but really??’
New sofas, chairs and tables have appeared in the atrium of Portcullis House on the estate
Cabinet minister Therese Coffey criticised the ‘luxury’ purchases for Parliament
She 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).’
Eight armchairs believed to be worth more than £1,000 each from manufacturer Orangebox are among the new furniture.
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.’
The Taxpayers’ Alliance campaign group said the Commons ought to be ‘saving every penny of taxpayer cash possible’ given the costs of refurbishing Parliament.
Duncan Simpson, its research director, said: ‘If Parliament is sitting on this kind of cash then it shouldn’t be splashing it on sofas just so that MPs can sit and slope in slightly greater comfort.
‘Plenty of politicians are perfectly happy with what they already have in Portcullis House and if anything would probably prefer more office equipment to help them get on with their day jobs.
‘Given the expensive refurbishment already under way, Commons authorities ought to be saving every penny of taxpayer cash possible, not piling it into comfortable armchairs and stylish settees.’
The Parliamentary authorities said they had adapted the space in Portcullis House (pictured) to cope with demand