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Council blows £212 a day on food and drink bills

PUBLISHED: 12:27 16 July 2009 | UPDATED: 09:21 12 August 2010

COUNCIL bosses spend up to £212 a day on catering tabs with an annual bill to the taxpayer of £53,244.72. Bromley council s catering bill for meetings last year jumped by £2,288.20 from the year before, a Freedom of Information request by the Times has

COUNCIL bosses spend up to £212 a day on catering tabs with an annual bill to the taxpayer of £53,244.72.

Bromley council's catering bill for meetings last year jumped by £2,288.20 from the year before, a Freedom of Information request by the Times has revealed.

But Bexley council spent £30,755 more last year than their Conservative colleagues in Bromley did on food and drink for their meetings.

Both councils' annual bills rose from the year before with Bexley's rising by £3,000.

Meanwhile, council taxpayers in Bromley have seen their annual bills go up by up to £51.66.

Retired lorry driver John Birch, 71, of Prescott Avenue, Petts Wood said: "I was working up until last year and I got wage and paid for food from that wage. I can't see why we give them a certain amount of money and then they claim for things such as food. It is disgraceful."

Pensioner John Ruler, 73 of Hilldown Road, Hayes, said: "It does seem a bit rich when the council are cutting down on other services.

"Last year pensioners lost concessions for adult education.

"Everybody else is cutting down and they are nit-picking on other things."

Leader of the Opposition David McBride was speechless when the Times told him the figure.

Later, the Liberal Democrat said: "I am quite surprised. If that is the case then it is something that needs to be looked at. Bromley council has been quite good at cutting the easy to hit budgets but not so good when we look at things such as members' allowances and obviously now catering falls into that category."

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In both boroughs the Children and Young Services department used caterers most often, racking up £27,640.76 in Bromley last year and calling caterers 34 times in Bexley.

Corporate Services in Bromley spent £14,180.23 on catering last year, Renewal and Recreation spent £6,767.70 and Environmental Services spent £4,656.03.

Bromley caterers of choice includes Connexsions Cuisine Ltd, Hand Made Food, First Quench, The Upper Crust, Fat Chef Caterers, Brett Davis and Bromley Masonic Hall.

Council bosses claim sorting though the piles of invoices would take longer than 18 hours and so have refused the Times' request for a breakdown of the bills.

A spokesperson for Bromley were unavailable to comment.

A spokesperson for Bexley council said: "The council has guidelines in place for both officers and members surrounding the ordering of catering for meetings. This has allowed us to significantly reduce our spend on catering over the last two years."

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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