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LEADER of Solihull Council Ken Meeson has defended councillors’ rights to a free hot dinner.

During last week’s budget meeting, Coun Karl Macnaughton (Green, Chemsley Wood) proposed that the council could save the tax payer £12,000 a year by members paying for their own evening meals before meetings.

During last week’s budget meeting, Coun Karl Macnaughton (Green, Chemsley Wood) proposed that the council could save the tax payer £12,000 a year by members paying for their own evening meals before meetings.

“While we all enjoy our hot dinners, our public services are being cut, hitting the most vulnerable and the least well-off the most,” he said. “It’s only right that councillors share the cuts and look in-house as well to slim down our own expenditure. Hot dinners are a perk and councillors are quite able to pay for them themselves.”

However his proposals met stony silence and were ignored by his fellow councillors who seemed unwilling to sacrifice their free meal.

Coun Meeson (Con, Dorridge & Hockley Heath) said the cost of meals had been reduced year-on-year. “We’ve cut the meals right back, there was a time we had a three course meal. Now it’s just a hot snack,” he said. “In fact, very few of the meetings have meals at all now.

“There are some benefits to everyone sitting down and enjoying a meal. We wanted to attract more people who worked for a living but the timings of the meetings don’t allow people enough time to get home and have a meal before.”

He added that leaders had considered making councillors pay for their own dinners but claimed the cost was covered by a three year pay freeze on councillor’s allowances.

n What do you think? Should councillors be entitled to a free hot meal? Write to us at Solihull News, 150 High Street, Solihull, B91 3SX, e-mail solihull_news@mrn.co.uk, or visit www.solihullnews.net.

 

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