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Give leftover council snacks to homeless, says Lib Dem
LEFTOVER sandwiches and snacks not eaten at council meetings should be offered to the hungry or homeless, a councillor says.
Councillor Simon Parker has called for 'nonsensical' regulations to be ignored to ensure decent food goes to a good home rather than being thrown in the bin.
After recently discovering that food provided for councillors after evening meetings was just discarded if not eaten, the Liberal Democrat asked homeless charities if they would welcome such snacks.
He said at a Wycombe District Council meeting last night: “ I've been assured that in the case of the YMCA in Cressex this would be eagerly received by residents who are not always assured of an evening meal.
“I understand the health and safety issues often cited as reasons why this cannot take place.
“Again, can I ask for her reassurance that as a council we should seek to circumvent any nonsensical regulations which prevents good food from reaching the mouths of the hungry, rather than consigning it to the dustbin?”
Cllr Jean Teesdale, Cabinet Member responsible for council food, said: “I have investigated the practicalities and things are not that simple.
“Over recent years efforts have been made to minimise the amount of refreshments left over after meetings.
“The action we are taking will, I anticipate, ensure the amounts of leftover food will be minimal so there will not be sufficient quantities to make it a viable proposition.”
The Conservative explained that once food has gone above eight degrees Celsius it must be consumed or thrown away, according to advice given by health and safety experts.
She added: “Whilst I appreciate the sentiment of your question I can't support anything that will cause risk.”
The food is paid for by the council.
This year it cut the budget for refreshments for 2012/13 from £11,100 to £7,500.
The council pointed out that this is merely the budget and not necessarily what will be spent.
Tea, coffee and biscuits are provided for all meetings and sandwiches are as well if the start time is 7pm and the meeting lasts more than an hour.
In 2007, the BFP revealed WDC overspent on their designated refreshment fund the previous year by £806 making it the council's most expensive for food since 2002.
Those same statistics showed across all three south Buckinghamshire district councils, councillors snacked on an annual total of £32,117 worth of sandwiches.