Meal for mayor to cost cash-strapped council £2,500

More than £2,000 will be spent on councillors tucking into a meal at cash-strapped Dudley Council during an annual knees-up with the town's new mayor tonight.

But officials today revealed £7,300 has been splashed out on the meal in the past and said costs had been cut this year.

The council’s UKIP councillors have vowed to snub the meal, costing £2,500, saying it would leave a 'sour taste' for Dudley taxpayers.

Dudley Council is currently making cuts of £32 million over the next three years with 40 redundancies planned to balance the books.

This comes as the authority gloomily predicted there was going to be a further £23 million shortfall in budgets over the same period.

Tonight, councillors were marking the start of the mayoral year with Councillor Margaret Aston being invested in the role.

To celebrate the occasion, 160 guests will sit down for a three course meal after the ceremony draws to a close in the mayor's parlour.

This year the council has ditched the buffet in favour a sit-down meal to feed the councillors after the busy mayoral curtain raiser.

The authority says it has attempted to get a grip of costs for the meal by changing supplier this year.

But in total, the council has spent £32,000 on meals over previous years at the mayor making ceremony.

In 2009, the council spent £6,800, £5,000 in 2010, £6,000 in 2011, £7,300 in 2012 and £6,900 last year.

Officials today said that a sit-down meal had been chosen this year because it worked out cheaper than buffet style meals used in previous years.

Newly elected UKIP councillor for Sedgley, Bill Etheridge, said: "I think this issue will leave a sour taste in the mouths of hard-pressed taxpayers in Dudley.

"It is about time that councillors from the old parties realised that there is no such thing as a free meal.

"My Sedgley office was visited this week by members of the public who are keen to set up a local food bank and yet at the same time Dudley councillors are dining out at taxpayers expense.

"UKIP councillors will shun the meal" added Councillor Etheridge who has also been elected to the European parliament.

Dudley Council leader, Councillor David Sparks, said: "There has always been a invitation for those who want to make a contribution to the Mayor of Dudley's charities to come for a meal.

"This is clearly a gimmick for any of the UKIP group have only to been too willing to to partake in those refreshments in the past.

"It ill becomes someone who has just joined the Brussels gravy train to start lecturing over what they should or not have from the public purse."

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Comments for: "Meal for mayor to cost cash-strapped council £2,500"


This is taking the p##s. I hope it chokes them!


What's wrong with 2 for a tenner down the local big steak, I don't care of it used to cost over 7 grand, it's all greed at our expense, just not so greedy this time


Isn't it terrible all that money being wasted giving the kitchen staff, waiting staff and cleaners jobs for this event? £15 a head, what a rip-off!!!


Lets challenge those who attend this function to make a donation to the cost.


As one of the UKIP councillors not attending the meal I must state that we were NOT given the option to pay!

Cllr Sparks is hardly in a position to comment on the gravy train considering he is leader of DMBC (without portfolio) and chair of the LGA earning something in the region of £100k pa from tax payers money!

I don't do hypocrisy and there is times some people would be better keeping their mouths shut.


Nothing like spending other people's money eh? Banquets for the Mayor, then possibly a trip for the councillors and wives to the twin town Bremen in Germany. Purely to spread bon homie you understand. Best to go during the beer festival. They might even fiddle a trip to America, Australia or some other far-flung sun-soaked country, purely fact-finding obviously. They could learn how the West Indies collect their rubbish or how the Chinese school system works.

All they have to do is to get a few mugs to vote for them and the world's their oyster! As the American saying goes, "never give a sucker an even break." Now stop reading the E &S or you will be late for work.

funny old world

My packed lunches don't cost that much. How These parasites love rubbing the noses of the electorate in the crappa.


I believe these do's are called "mayor making" ceremonies. There used to be two of them (probably is in Sandwell) There was a waiter served sit down official one first with all the gentry, then there was a less formal buffet one for friends, but my god it was a buffet, with the tills at the bar ringing out, till rolls spinning and then passed on to the council for payment. I had my reasons for going, and wouldn't name the chap who asked me but it certainly opened my eyes as a young man seeing just where some of your hard earned money goes. It may have been 20 years ago but the cost in the day must have been astronomical, and when asking the ladies behind the bar if they had good "doggy bags" they said "no it goes in the bin we are not allowed to have it" Which made it even worse. I'm glad I went because I can put this on here what goes on as a matter of fact not just guess work.


One would have thought in these times of austerity where councils are struggling to make ends meet they could show a little more restraint, indeed show a little more leadership. People sometimes ask me why I have no time for politics or the antics of these parasites ? Well it's because of the hypocrisy of many of these so called representatives of the people, snouts in the trough and all that.


I agree Graham, but there is no austerity for MEP's, MP's, councillors anyone in government they still carry on regardless, the working people who keep paying taxes to fund these people are feeling austerity. Was it 20% pay rise for M.P's handed to them from an outside body who was supposed to make it fairer, and they tongue in cheek said "we don't want it" yeh right. Have expenses been cut, NO, have second homes been stopped and sold off because they belong to us NO, has they signing in to the house of lords then going back out claiming your £250 for turning up NO, have they reduced the number of councillors per ward, NO, and this is the tip of the very big iceberg until then I won't believe there is austerity !

funny old world

A great example of how we're all in it together, who'd have thought Councillors would have needed to use food banks.


Councils often provide refreshments & meals for board meetings and training course attendees , depending on the time spent there a cuppa is appreciated, but meals should be your own responsibility.


I personally invited two Dudley Councillors to a meeting last night over a local issue, they both declined the invitation saying they had to attend a Full Council Meeting. Preperation's must of been a busy time lol


Just in reply to some. UKIP in Dudley promised before the election we would expose money wasting within DMBC and not be part of it.

We put forward a motion to reduce allowances paid to councillors which was unanimously voted down by the council so please don't put UKIP councillors in the gravy train category.

We are and will continue to be the people's army.


Its a sign of the times when someone in Sedgley wants to open a food bank! its early day's for UKIP lets hope they are true to there word...

Dudley Regeneration group