New council announce u-turn over free meal deal

Published: 4 Jun 2012 09:301 comment

CASH-STRAPPED council chiefs have agreed to set up a scheme to encourage councillors to pay for their meals in future.

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It followed the revelation that Scottish Borders Council provided free lunches for all councillors at an estimated cost of £3,360 a year.

In December 2010, the SNP group at the council announced that its members would no longer dine at taxpayers' expense.

However, the then administration, which was made up of a mixture of Conservative, Liberal Democrat and independent councillors, refused to support a motion to abolish the scheme - before voting through £7.2million of cuts.

Now that the SNP has increased their number of councillors and forms part of the administration, members have reached an agreement with other parties in the new administration which could end the practice it described as "wasteful and unjustifiable".

Commenting on the u-turn this week, council leader David Parker said: "The SNP feel strongly about that. They think that coffee and lunches where that does happen should be paid for."

And he added: "We are going to set up a scheme to allow members to do that if they so wish and certainly having talked that through we are all happy to do that."

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