No such thing as a free lunch at Scottish Borders Council!

THE phrase 'There's no such thing as a free lunch' could apply to Scottish Borders councillors from today.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 23rd June 2010, 12:16 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd June 2010, 12:17 pm

Sandwiches will be binned if councillor Donald Moffat's motion to end free lunches is supported at a full council meeting, saving SBC an estimated 7,000 per year.

The SNP member also wants to save a further 4,300 per year by removing the controversial coffee hub from SBC's Newtown St Boswells headquarters, introduced last year at a cost of 20,000.

Councillor Moffat said: "When I first started as a councillor you were actually out of pocket but we are now paid a decent wage.

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"If you are working on a gritter during the winter you bring your own lunch or buy it at the shop - I think councillors should be no different.

"We should be leading by example as a principle.

"There is a perfectly good canteen at Newtown St Boswells that we could be using.

"Getting rid of free lunches and the coffee hub over five years would save around 56,500 which is quite a lot - you could make major improvements to two football pitches or a road with that money."

Mr Moffat says it took him two months to be given the figures on lunch and coffee expenses which councillors attending full, committee or working group meetings are entitled to.

He discovered that SBC spent 100 on sandwiches to feed members of an Executive meeting which take place every two weeks, while a monthly full council meeting sees an average of 272 spent on lunches.

And two days of ploughman lunches for 12 members of SBC's budget working group added up to a 102 bill for the council tax payer to pick up.

At the same time, a total of 68 free coffees were made for an executive meeting last year, and 67 hot beverages poured for a full council meeting.

Councillor Moffat added: "Some councillors will be annoyed with me for this motion but I am hopeful it will go through.

"I will have the support of members of the public, most of whom didn't know councillors received free lunches."

Councillors already have to make do without biscuits during meetings after Borders Party councillor Nicholas Watson's motion to ban the snack - for health rather than financial reasons - was supported in April.