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By Beth Sharp Wednesday 15 January 2014 Updated: 16/01 23:54
CASH-STRAPPED Worcestershire County Council splashed out more than £77,000 entertaining county councillors, officers and guests in 2012/13, figures have revealed.
The council provides lunch for its 57 councillors at six full council meetings a year costing taxpayers £2,034 and another £795.19 is spent on tea and coffee.
It has also been revealed that, as well as the £77,242 on food and drink from 2012/13, a further £55,096 was spent between April and November last year.
Labour leader Coun Peter McDonald accused Tories at County Hall of being out of touch with the people and needing a reality check.
He said the money would have been better spent on ensuring the poor had food on their plates not 'organising jollies at the tax payers’ expense'.
"The realities are we have people begging for food and people going without to pay their council tax, services being cut and yet at the same time County Hall acts as though they have money coming out of their ears to feed their already full stomachs."
A spokesperson for county council said it was closely looking at all the budgets, including hospitality.
She added: "The figures given for 2012/13 for 'hospitality' spend include meeting refreshments attended by external visitors and events to support council activities such as economic development breakfast meetings and supporting the apprenticeship scheme.
"As well as enabling business events such as hosting local, national and international business representatives while promoting the council's 'Open for Business' initiative.
"In recent years it has significantly reduced its expenditure in this area by the introduction of much tighter rules within the council on when meals and hospitality can be provided."
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