Employees of Transport for London (TfL) are provided with free tea, coffee and mineral water worth more than £1m a year.
The body responsible for the Tube, buses and congestion charge disclosed the perks after the London Evening Standard used the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) to discover how much public authorities spend on food and drink.
TfL, which gives tube drivers 52 days holiday per year, spends £400,000 a year on mineral water, enough to buy 1.9 million litres of Caledonian still mineral water from Sainsbury’s or 100 litres for every employee.
It says it buys the water, rather than offering only tap water, to comply with 1992 health and safety regulations that state an “adequate supply of wholesome drinking water shall be provided for all persons… in the workplace”.
A spokesman told the Standard: “TfL has a duty to provide facilities for its staff – including making a supply of drinkable water available.”
But Thames Water said drinking water quality is better than ever and surpasses UK and European targets.
The Standard also used the FOI legislation to assess the scale of the “biscuit barrel culture” across London’s local authorities.
It found each of the 33 boroughs spends an average of £100,000 on refreshments for meetings and functions.