Time for tea? Councillors reject proposal to ban free tea and coffee at meetings

Council votes to keep its free tea for councillors

Council votes to keep its free tea for councillors - Credit: Archant

Cambridgeshire County Council may be counting every penny as it tightens its belt but free tea and coffee for councillors is set to stay.

A motion put forward by UKIP Councillor Paul Bullen at a meeting of full council on Tuesday called for the taxpayer-funded refreshments for councillors to stop but the proposal was voted down.

According to Cllr Bullen, cups of tea and coffee cost the public purse more than £6,000 in 2013/14, with the anticipated cost set to be “significantly more” in 2014/15.

In his motion, Cllr Bullen said: “Significant funding shortfalls and continued pressure on public sector budgets persist, and at some point these financial pressures will inevitably have an impact on the ability of local government to deliver good quality and safe services to the residents of Cambridgeshire.

“It is therefore in the public interest to explore all possible areas where savings can be made and it is the responsibility of elected members to ensure that council tax payers do not pay for services which are neither required nor justified.


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“In the current financial situation, all local authorities are finding it harder to provide essential care services to their residents who need them and that all possible additional savings should be explored.”

Cllr Bullen pointed out that Northamptonshire County Council does not provide free tea and coffee to elected members during meetings and that council staff and contractors were also not allowed free tea of coffee.

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The councillor called for a ‘cost free’ vending machine to be installed in the members’ lounge so that members are able to buy their own cups of tea.

But Cllr Bullen’s proposal was branded “trivial” by other councillors and dismissed.

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