Nearly £2million of taxpayers’ money subsidised exclusive bars and restaurants for peers at the House of Lords last year.
The £1.9m handout – the highest in five years – was £682,000 more than the previous year, a Freedom of Information request revealed.
Restaurants for Lords in the Palace of Westminster are propped up with public cash because many of them make a loss.
The reason for the increase is unclear but it is thought the pandemic may have been a factor after most of the catering outlets were closed in March.
The situation has also been blamed on the “irregular hours and unpredictability of parliamentary business”.
The Peers’ Dining Room makes the biggest loss of all the facilities, requiring £830,207 to keep it afloat last year.
A total of £519,011 was needed to subsidise the operation of the Peers’ River Restaurant and £36,155 to keep the Barry Room out of the red.
There was a £92,111 deficit at Bishops Bar and £21,904 at the Lords Bar.
The subsidy needed to keep the bars and restaurants running for the Lords would be even larger if it were not for profits brought in by banqueting events, which last year made a profit of £710,420.
In a bid to stem the losses, the historic dining room has been opened to the public for a few days a year.
The £49.95-a-head menu includes salmon, beef and crab starters, with venison, duck and lemon sole among main courses.
Other Lords restaurants have served meals such as Gressingham duck at £32 per portion and seared salmon for £28.
Earlier this year, one of the peers wrote a detailed complaint about changes to food at Bishop’s Bar.
They complained that sandwiches had too much lettuce and that smoked salmon portions were too “modest”.
Peers are usually paid £323 a day for attending the House of Lords.
Since the pandemic struck, they are only able to participate in online proceedings but can still claim £162.