Expenditure on flowers and plants in the House of Commons in 2010-11 is expected to be £116,391 and estimated expenditure in 2011-12 is expected to be some £87,400. All areas of expenditure are being scrutinised following the Commission's decision to save at least 17% of the cost of the House's administration by 2014-15.
The thing is, I cannot get myself worked up into an outrage about this. The Palace of Westminster is the seat of our Government. So yes it should be careful about its expenditure, and a slimming down is required of course, but, like the Government Art Collection, the sight of flowers in the Palace is, I believe, probably a good thing. Are we to be so austere that we become joyless puritan ghastlies?
It is a fine balancing act, granted. But surely it is reasonable that the palace should look nice? Or must we whitewash the walls and don hair shirts in the face of austerity. I ask, because at some point austerity will be over, and then will we be able to smile?