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£152,000 spent on council catering

PUBLISHED: 10:26 13 August 2009 | UPDATED: 17:03 25 August 2010

DUNKING INTO FUNDS:

DUNKING INTO FUNDS:

COUNCIL bosses spend nearly three times as much on catering tabs than nearby authorities, the Times can reveal.

COUNCIL bosses spend nearly three times as much on catering tabs than nearby authorities, the Times can reveal.

Greenwich council spent a 'ridiculous' £152,721 on catering two years ago dipping to £128,659 last year, according to a request under the Freedom of Information Act by the Times.

This comes after the Times revealed last month that Bromley council spent £55,532 on food and drink for meetings last year, whilst Bexley council spent £84,000.

Greenwich council staff took 36 working days to answer the request, exceeding the 20-day limit and the 10-day permissible extension stated in the Act.

More than £50,000 a year was spent on food and drink for Greenwich's chief executives department alone, more than any of the other five departments spent in the last two years.

Last year the regeneration department spent £19,708, neighbourhood services spent £7,616, adults and older people £9,082, children's services £10,907 and culture and community £29,753.

Last year the tab for children's services was slashed by £27,371, adults and older people was down by £9,133 and neighbourhood services was reduced by £3,606.

But the budget for culture and community shot up by £11,108, regeneration by £3,594 and the chief executives department by £1,346.

Leader of the opposition on Greenwich council, Spencer Drury, said these figures reveal a "culture of waste" at the authority.

The Conservative councillor said: "It is just ridiculous. I think it reflects the culture of waste at Greenwich. It is clearly an excessive amount of spending.

"I am sure they would cite the Olympics as a reason for the increase in the culture and community budget.

"But that is a pretty big increase and at the same time they are reducing the children and older People budget by quite a large amount. That is quite a big statement about your priorities.

"I think they want visitors here because it makes them feel important but we are not good at getting a lot out of this schmoozing."

Approximately 65 per cent of the catering was in house. External companies used included Charlton Athletic and the local sandwich shop.

Council workers said a breakdown of how much was spent on tea, coffee, biscuits, alcohol and food would take longer than 18 hours and therefore could not be provided.

Greenwich council declined to comment.

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