Council spends £17k on water

This Is Wiltshire: Coun David Renard Coun David Renard

THIRSTY council workers and visitors to council offices consumed £17,000 worth of water and other refreshments over the last year.

A large chunk of the cost has gone towards providing Evian bottled water at meetings, as well as occasional food.

Critics of the council have said this is unnecessary spending and needs to be curbed, but council leaders say the level of refreshments has already been stripped to its minimum.

Labour are to propose shifting the entire amount from the budget as a way of saving cash in order to keep the green waste collection, which will move to a £40 charge in April, included in council tax.

Group leader Coun Jim Grant (Lab, Rodbourne Cheney) said: “At a time when the council has to make unprecedented cuts to its services it is imperative that it works in an efficient and cost effective way, driving out all unnecessary spending.

“What this shows is that this Conservative administration is not driving out all unnecessary spending. And together with refusing to reduce spend on councillors’ allowances and increasing the amount they spend on consultants each year to £2.8m, you have to question how much waste is still being lost.

“If I was leader of the council my number one priority when reviewing the budget would be to cut all unnecessary spending like hospitality before looking at cutting back services. This seems to me the most sensible approach to take.”

However, the council leader has hit back, saying the council has a legal responsibility to provide at least water if there is a meeting with visitors, while if it is between council members they provide their own refreshments for internal meetings.

Coun David Ren ard (Con, Haydon Wick) said: “The council hosts hundreds of meetings every year with members of the public and representatives from a huge range of external organisations.

“It’s quite right that we can at least offer them something to drink, and also to eat if the meetings or events are scheduled for a number of hours.

“No refreshments of any sort beyond tap water, or water from water coolers, are permitted for any internal council meetings, so council staff are not spending the money on themselves. The council is required by law to provide water in public meeting rooms, which we do with water coolers.

“I think most members, including myself, put money into a kitty from our own money from which we purchase drinks.”

Comments (17)

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5:27am Mon 24 Feb 14

beach1e says...

tap water is alright to drink , why waste money on plastic water? yet again this council has no regard for decent hardworking people.
tap water is alright to drink , why waste money on plastic water? yet again this council has no regard for decent hardworking people. beach1e
  • Score: 11

7:05am Mon 24 Feb 14

house on the hill says...

Fitting water filters would be a much cheaper long term option.
Fitting water filters would be a much cheaper long term option. house on the hill
  • Score: 14

8:09am Mon 24 Feb 14

Oik1 says...

If the council are going to provide water for meetings with external members of the public, visitors etc, then provide tap water in jugs.
There is simply no need or reason to provide bottled water imported from France.
If the council are going to provide water for meetings with external members of the public, visitors etc, then provide tap water in jugs. There is simply no need or reason to provide bottled water imported from France. Oik1
  • Score: 12

8:54am Mon 24 Feb 14

StillPav says...

Every company I have ever worked for provides refreshments for meetings. This doesn't seem like an unreasonable expense to me.
Every company I have ever worked for provides refreshments for meetings. This doesn't seem like an unreasonable expense to me. StillPav
  • Score: 4

9:04am Mon 24 Feb 14

SomeoneWhoIsntMe says...

And they wasted £400,000+ on a failed wifi scheme... which do you care more about?
And they wasted £400,000+ on a failed wifi scheme... which do you care more about? SomeoneWhoIsntMe
  • Score: 11

10:19am Mon 24 Feb 14

Silvergeek says...

I do prefer bottled water to Swindon Tap water, but they do not need Evian, Tesco or Sainsbury sells Scottish water for about £1 for 5 litres.
I do prefer bottled water to Swindon Tap water, but they do not need Evian, Tesco or Sainsbury sells Scottish water for about £1 for 5 litres. Silvergeek
  • Score: 11

1:39pm Mon 24 Feb 14

house on the hill says...

Out of a budget of around £200million it is just a drop in the ocean!
Out of a budget of around £200million it is just a drop in the ocean! house on the hill
  • Score: -2

2:13pm Mon 24 Feb 14

Davey Gravey says...

More of our taxes wasted.
More of our taxes wasted. Davey Gravey
  • Score: 4

2:31pm Mon 24 Feb 14

The Zax says...

beach1e wrote:
tap water is alright to drink , why waste money on plastic water? yet again this council has no regard for decent hardworking people.
Too few decent hardworking people have regard for other decent hardworking people.
[quote][p][bold]beach1e[/bold] wrote: tap water is alright to drink , why waste money on plastic water? yet again this council has no regard for decent hardworking people.[/p][/quote]Too few decent hardworking people have regard for other decent hardworking people. The Zax
  • Score: 7

4:22pm Mon 24 Feb 14

toasted says...

Actually reading the story.... £17k hasn't been spent on just water. This cost also includes other liquid refreshments and food! Considering the number of public meetings held by the council this figure is very very small.

So not really a problem at all. Moving on!
Actually reading the story.... £17k hasn't been spent on just water. This cost also includes other liquid refreshments and food! Considering the number of public meetings held by the council this figure is very very small. So not really a problem at all. Moving on! toasted
  • Score: 2

7:13pm Mon 24 Feb 14

M4 by pass says...

Perhaps like many other companies the council should have coffee outlet also selling bottled water. Many of the visitors will be promoting their services so should be treating our council officers. The profits from the cafe will then fund the water for other meetings.
Perhaps like many other companies the council should have coffee outlet also selling bottled water. Many of the visitors will be promoting their services so should be treating our council officers. The profits from the cafe will then fund the water for other meetings. M4 by pass
  • Score: 4

8:05pm Mon 24 Feb 14

MrAngry says...

The council love a meeting. Perhaps if they had fewer meetings and did more work the water bill would be less.
The council love a meeting. Perhaps if they had fewer meetings and did more work the water bill would be less. MrAngry
  • Score: 4

8:06pm Mon 24 Feb 14

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

StillPav wrote:
Every company I have ever worked for provides refreshments for meetings. This doesn't seem like an unreasonable expense to me.
Companies are responsible for generating their income, not getting it automatically through taxation and that is an important difference.

They have an obligation to use tax payers money responsible and where necessary. Bottled water is an unnecessary luxury when the tap water is perfectly good to drink.
[quote][p][bold]StillPav[/bold] wrote: Every company I have ever worked for provides refreshments for meetings. This doesn't seem like an unreasonable expense to me.[/p][/quote]Companies are responsible for generating their income, not getting it automatically through taxation and that is an important difference. They have an obligation to use tax payers money responsible and where necessary. Bottled water is an unnecessary luxury when the tap water is perfectly good to drink. LordAshOfTheBrake
  • Score: 10

8:56pm Mon 24 Feb 14

MrAngry says...

M4 by pass wrote:
Perhaps like many other companies the council should have coffee outlet also selling bottled water. Many of the visitors will be promoting their services so should be treating our council officers. The profits from the cafe will then fund the water for other meetings.
The staff wouldn't be allowed to accept the treat.
[quote][p][bold]M4 by pass[/bold] wrote: Perhaps like many other companies the council should have coffee outlet also selling bottled water. Many of the visitors will be promoting their services so should be treating our council officers. The profits from the cafe will then fund the water for other meetings.[/p][/quote]The staff wouldn't be allowed to accept the treat. MrAngry
  • Score: -1

9:58pm Mon 24 Feb 14

BeardyBill says...

It's the law is it? Sounds like BS to me...... So Mr Renard, a public challenge to quote that law, chapter & verse.
It's the law is it? Sounds like BS to me...... So Mr Renard, a public challenge to quote that law, chapter & verse. BeardyBill
  • Score: 4

2:46pm Tue 25 Feb 14

bob marley quotes says...

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amazingly inspiring piece of information, I had come to know about your blog from my friend pavan, banglore.i have read atleast eleven posts of yours by now, and let me tell you, your website gives the best and the most interesting information. This is just the kind of information that i had been looking for, i'm already your rss reader now and i would regularly watch out for the new posts, once again hats off to you! Thanks a lot once again, Regards, bob marley quotes bob marley quotes
  • Score: -3

5:00pm Tue 25 Feb 14

Richard Symonds says...

The Conservative Administration just doesn't get it, does it?

You cut some things back to the bone and at the same time you spend money on things that are not necessary.

It doesn't matter if the water costs 17k or the £300 claimed at last night's Council Meeting it is still a sum of money that has to be generated before it can be spent and in hard times the Council MUST set an example if it is to be taken seriously! Remember they are playing with our MONEY!!

A bit like their fancy Car Park, which they claim is necessary to entice business to come to Swindon. When I came here in 1991 you could not rent a unit for a reasonable figure, but now you could do so wherever you want and at less money, there is such a choice. What happened to those businesses and why did they leave and not be replaced?
The Conservative Administration just doesn't get it, does it? You cut some things back to the bone and at the same time you spend money on things that are not necessary. It doesn't matter if the water costs 17k or the £300 claimed at last night's Council Meeting it is still a sum of money that has to be generated before it can be spent and in hard times the Council MUST set an example if it is to be taken seriously! Remember they are playing with our MONEY!! A bit like their fancy Car Park, which they claim is necessary to entice business to come to Swindon. When I came here in 1991 you could not rent a unit for a reasonable figure, but now you could do so wherever you want and at less money, there is such a choice. What happened to those businesses and why did they leave and not be replaced? Richard Symonds
  • Score: 2

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