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Catering for MLAs and staff costing £1,000 per day – despite no Assembly since January

Almost £300,000 has been spent on subsidising cheap meals since last September

The cost of catering for MLAs comes in at a staggering £1,000 each day the service is available – despite Stormont not haven’t sat since the end of January this year.

In total, taxpayers forked out £300,000 subsidising cheap dinners for MLAs and Assembly staff.

The cost emerged after an Assembly question posed by TUV leader Jim Allister.

He said the fact “almost £300,000 of public money has been paid out in the last year to subsidise catering services in Stormont will, I believe, rightly raise questions as to why public money continues to be squandered on this project”.

The North Antrim MLA added: “With the public subsidy totally £290,909.77 for September 2016 to August 2017 it is running at over £1,000 per day for every day the facilities are open.

“The fact the Assembly isn’t sitting has not altered the arrangement whereby the subsidy meter continues to run. Yet it seems the Assembly Commission has taken no steps to address this situation.

“The public are simply expected to pay up and look cheery.

“It could only happen in Stormont.”

An Assembly spokesperson, in response, said: “Catering services remain operational for MLAs, their staff, Assembly staff and visitors to Parliament Buildings.

“Where the cost the providing these services exceeds the revenue generated through food and drink sales, the Northern Ireland Assembly assumes the operating cost as per the contractual agreement. Over recent months the commission has worked with the contractor to review the delivery of this service and minimise costs where possible.

“The contract will continue to be monitored on an ongoing basis.”

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