The new House of Commons nursery should be open to the children of local families as it is the “most expensive nursery in the country”, a Birmingham Labour MP has said.
Roger Godsiff said Commons authorities had effectively “wasted” £1 million on a nursery that only one child had enrolled in so far.
Earlier this year the House of Commons Commission controversially transformed a popular Westminster bar into a nursery for up to 40 children.
Mr Godsiff (Birmingham Hall Green) said £480,000 had been spent on refurbishing Bellamy’s Bar in the two years prior to the authorities’ decision, and the conversion into a nursery then cost more than £510,000.
In a Commons motion, he said the decision to convert the “extremely popular and well-used” bar had not been put to MPs for debate.
He wrote: “Out of more than 6,500 people who work on the parliamentary estate, the nursery had - on October 1 2010, one month since its opening - one child enrolled in it.”
He said he “regrets the fact that at a time when children’s nurseries, such as the Claremont Day Nursery in Sparkbrook, are being closed or are under threat throughout the country, over £1 million has been wasted at a time of austerity on an unwanted nursery which is, pro-rata to the number of children in it, the most expensive nursery in the country.”
And he added: “The nursery should now be opened up to the children of families in Westminster and other boroughs close to the House of Commons who are losing their nursery provision.”
In a written parliamentary answer in July, the House of Commons Commission said 16 people, including six MPs, had expressed a “firm interest” in nursery places.
Sir Stuart Bell, a Commission member, said at the time: “Occupancy rates for a new nursery build up over time: the House of Commons nursery has been planned on this basis.”