September 26th, 2016

Row breaks out over cost of county council catering bill

Row breaks out over cost of county council catering bill Row breaks out over cost of county council catering bill
Updated: 10:49 am, May 07, 2015

LABOUR leader Peter McDonald has been accused of ‘injustice’ for criticising the amount spent on council catering while his group enjoy lunches paid for from the same budget.

Councillors were asked to support an overview and scrutiny performance board investigation by Coun McDonald after it was revealed £150,261 was spent on sandwiches and beverages in two years.

But Coun John Campion said if Coun McDonald believed what he was saying Labour should boycott the refreshments put on after council meetings for members. Whilst the opposition group said this was from a different budget, Coun Campion said he had checked with officers on the morning of the meeting to confirm their lunches did come from the same pot.

He said costs were expected to reduce to £66,000 in 2014/15 and included business breakfasts and activities to attract apprentices.

“We are offering what any household would to visitors which is a drink for them to enjoy while having a meeting. It is exceptionally rare there is any catering, not even a biscuit.”

He added Coun McDonald asserting the catering situation was a criminal offence was ‘sailing close to the wind’.

Putting forward the motion, Coun McDonald said: “At a time communities are facing further cuts in services and other cuts in living standards for every year this coalition continues, we have the unedifying spectacle of officers and their guests eating away at £75,000 worth of sandwiches a year. I believe it’s criminal.

“This council is closing libraries, sacking thousands of employees, selling off the council silver and commissioning services to their mates in the private sector.”

The motion was overruled by 42 votes to 12, with one councillor abstaining.