When I was first elected on to Wigan Council in 2004 I was horrified what the food and drinks bill, which was over £60,000. The last time I enquired it was nearer to £70,000. The meals range from Cllrs eating before a meeting to organised events.
I have always been against this. The reason is that Cllrs get an allowance, not expenses - they get them on top if they want, I have never claimed a penny in expenses. To me if someone goes to work they have to take a packed lunch or money to buy a meal, so why should Cllrs be any different?
Finally, the Council are stopping free food and drink after 5pm, which is a large number of meetings, so this will reduce the bill for free food and drink, which I welcome. Meetings taking place during the day will continue to get free food and drinks for Cllrs who attend and want them. Again there is nothing stopping Cllrs taking a packed lunch or nipping into the Town Centre to grab a bite to eat. Plus not many Cllrs are there for 7 hours a day. A meeting will only last a few hours.
I will continue to be against free food and drink during the day and hopefully we can get them stopped too.