Â£4,500 taxpayer bill for Peterborough council buffets - including wine
Cash-strapped Peterborough City Council spent nearly Â£4,500 serving food and drink to councillors last year, with the spread including taxpayer-funded wine.
Members received a buffet after every full council meeting which sometimes included hot food, as well as cakes, sandwiches and snacks.
Last week’s extraordinary council meeting lasted an hour from 7pm but a £260 buffet was put on at the end for the 59 councillors. In 2016/17, £4,455 was spent on food and drink, working out at £8.25 per councillor per meeting.
During that period the Conservative-led council approved £28 million worth of savings, including a five per cent council tax rise, having suffered big cuts to its funding from central government.
A Peterborough City Council spokeswoman said: “Catering is provided after meetings when it is unlikely that councillors have had time to arrange a meal themselves, and it allows them time to network and reflect after the meeting.
“For example, lengthy evening meetings that cover traditional meal-time periods that councillors may have had to attend straight from work.
“Wherever possible, any leftover food is saved and used for other meetings the mayor may be hosting.”
The spokeswoman said on average one bottle of wine is drunk after meetings, with one £6 bottle consumed last week. The buffets have previously included hot food, including mini fish and chips.
James Price, campaign manager at the pressure group TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Residents in Peterborough have every right to be angry that their local representatives are pleading poverty and raising taxes but can be fed and watered at taxpayers’ expense.
“No one would begrudge the odd tea and biscuits but buffets and alcohol are surely crossing a line.”
The Mayor of Peterborough’s office also provides tea, coffee and biscuits following civic events, and there were buffet items for the Mayor’s Open Day - which raised money for charity - and the Mayor’s Installation.