Government wine cellar worth nearly £800k

  • Wednesday 29 April 2009

The wine cellar of the UK government is worth nearly £800,000, a Foreign Office minister has revealed today.

Gillian Merron, parliamentary under-secretary of state for the Foreign office, told parliament that the governement’s cellar held over 39,000 bottles of wine. She said that the wine, including around 500 bottles of spirits and liqueurs, was worth around £792,000.

According to the BBC, she added that ‘small quantities’ of beer were purchased when required.

Merron was responding to a question about the cellar in Whitehall from Liberal Democrat MP Don Foster, who accused the government of living ‘beyond its means’.

‘They expect the rest of us to cut back but they still haven't given up their taste for the high life,’ he said. ‘Rather than wasting public money on expensive bottles of wine, it could be used to help get Britain out of its economic problems.’

Official figures revealed last year showed that ministers spent £5m of taxpayers' money on wining and dining. More than £100,000 went on maintaining the Whitehall wine cellar.

A budget of £792,000 can buy around 36 cases of Chateau Petrus 1982.

  • Simon Hoggart will be writing a feature on wine's place in parliament - and wine-loving MPs - in a forthcoming issue of Decanter magazine.

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