Following a review of catering costs, it has been revealed that the Tories and the LDs don't skimp on their sandwiches in meetings. The cost of servicing the 39 Tories' demands for quails' eggs and champagne comes to an annual average of £182 per councillor. The Liberal Democrats 28 councillors get their snouts into the trough to the value of £110, but the 53 Labour councillors only spend £91 per head to sustain themselves during Mike Whitby's speeches.
Coun Alistair Dow (Lib Dem Selly Oak), who is heading a scrutiny inquiry, said the council should be getting a better deal from its suppliers. The council appeared to be inflating prices "as if it was running a restaurant" rather than providing meals at cost price, he said.These are just the in-house costs and I don't believe that they take into account the £35 a head Liberal Democrat junkets at the Copthorne hotel, which stopped suddenly after a Labour councillor blew the whistle last year. At the time, John Hemming told us that the use of the Copthorne was substantially cheaper than the use of Council House facilities, only to have the Tories accuse him and his colleagues of an 'indulgent extravagance.'