House of Lords blows £54,000 on smoking area and furniture
The House of Lords has spent more than £54,000 on a new smoking area and luxury furniture for the Parliamentary terrace, it can be revealed.
The huge spending included around £19,000 on chairs for the exclusive drinking and eating spot overlooking the Thames, after the previous ones were deemed too 'heavy and difficult to move'.
Meanwhile, thousands of pounds more is going on creating a new smoking area on another part of the river frontage, in Black Rod's Garden.
A path, canopy and seating area is being installed after peers decided putting it on that side of the estate would help deter MPs using the facility for their own crafty cigarettes.
The FOI response said that the total costs of the work was not 'finalised'. 'The precise route of the new path referred to in your request has yet to be decided and therefore costs are not known at present,' the House authorities said.
However, they said there was a bill of £2,340 for 'provision of gazebos', and 'specified contractor modifications to security systems' are adding £2,887 - with VAT on top of both figures.
Some of the furniture previously on the Terrace is being shifted to the smoking area, as new kit had already been ordered.
The FOI response revealed that upgraded chairs have cost £15,727.04, with another £8,775.42 for table bases and £12,060 on planter boxes.
Repair and 'changes' to the River Terrace 'credenza' - a type of sideboard - were £3,650.
Altogether, the projects have cost £52,520 so far including VAT - but the bill for the smoking area is likely to rise.