AN ATTEMPT to force an investigation into the amount spent by council bosses on sandwiches and refreshments has been rejected.
Coun Peter McDonald, Labour group leader on Worcestershire County Council, called for the authority’s Overview and Scrutiny Performance Board to look into the fact £150,261 had been spent on sandwiches and beverages in two years.
“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.” he told a full council meeting last Thursday (January 15).
“This council is closing libraries, sacking thousands of employees, selling off the council silver and commissioning services to their mates in the private sector.”
But he was accused of ‘injustice’ by Conservative councillors with Coun John Campion telling him if he believed what he was saying Labour should boycott the refreshments put on after council meetings for members.
Whilst Labour insist the money is from a different budget, Coun Campion, responsible for transformation and change on the council, said he had checked with officers 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 said.
The motion was overruled by 42 votes to 12, with one councillor abstaining.