TEA BILL: Council spends more than £700 a year on refreshments at meetings

Council bosses have defended spending more than £700 a year on refreshments at meetings.

Friday, 23rd December 2016, 10:31 am
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 2:58 pm
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A Freedom of Information request by Derbyshire Times to Chesterfield Borough Council asked how much money has been spent on refreshments at full council meetings this year and to provide a breakdown of the costs.

The figures show that £105 has been spent per meeting, and there are seven full council meetings a year.

Councillor Sharon Blank, cabinet member for governance, said: “Committee teas, which are a simple buffet consisting primarily of sandwiches with coffee or tea, are provided at council meetings as it is cheaper to do this than to pay a subsistence allowance that councillors would otherwise be entitled to under national regulations.

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“All the council’s catering purchases are done in bulk to reduce the cost of providing it and we use Fairtrade products and local suppliers as much as possible.”

The FOI response from the borough council says the authority purchases 20 committee teas at a cost of £4.50 per head, giving a total of £90 per full council meeting. The committee teas are bought from Take a Break and the tea, coffee and sugar is purchased from Northern Tea Merchants.

The drinks supplied for about 30 people are purchased in bulk and include filter coffee or tea bags and sugar if required. The costs of drinks are 50 pence on average, giving a total of £15.

The borough council said it does not provide biscuits at any Town Hall meetings.

Councillor Blank added: “Biscuits are not provided for meetings involving councillors or staff to avoid an unnecessary cost and as part of our commitment to improving health and wellbeing.”

The Derbyshire Times submitted the same FOI to Derbyshire County Council, which said it provides tap water only.

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