MSPs have complained about the quality of the free coffee they are served during committee meetings.

Scottish Parliament members are served complimentary coffee, cakes and fruit during committees, but Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon complained that the coffee is fit for the bin.

Her complaint was echoed by SNP MSP Mike McKenzie, during a five-minute debate at Holyrood, who said the quality of the coffee deteriorates as the day progresses.

But Scottish Parliament Corporate Body visitor services spokeswoman Linda Fabiani told the MSPs they are "very lucky getting coffee in committees" in a time of austerity.

Ms Scanlon said: "Many of us would like to increase the amount of food for disposal, and I refer in particular to the quality of the coffee in committee rooms.

"On behalf of my colleagues from all parties across this parliament, can I ask the corporate body to ensure that new and continuing MSPs get a decent cup of coffee in committees?"

Ms Fabiani said: "I guess it's all a matter of taste. I quite like the coffee that we get in committees.

"In fact, I think we're very lucky getting coffee in committees. It's hard times now, it's in austerity.

"I have heard this over the years, and I know that parliament staff have had coffee tastings for members to try and choose what they thought was the best coffee.

"I don't know what else we can do, to be perfectly honest.

"I would suggest that the fact that very often the coffee urns are empty would suggest that most people are quite happy with the coffee on offer.

"You can get some very good coffee bags. Maybe we can supply some hot water."

Mr McKenzie said: "I share Mary Scanlon's concerns about the coffee, and I complement her on her efforts to improve the quality of the coffee.

"One thing that I have observed that may help the corporate body is that, on odd occasions the committee has met very early in the day and on those occasions the coffee seems to taste much better.

"So I would suggest part of the problem at least may be the fact that, at times, coffee is left standing in those vacuum flasks for quite a long time and that impinges on the quality of its flavour.

"So if the corporate body are going to direct their activities in such a way as to improve the quality of the coffee, perhaps they can look at minimising the amount of time that it is in those vacuum flasks."

Ms Fabiani said: "Perhaps the next corporate body could look at this, but could I suggest that people get a bit more healthier and drink more water."