Dinnertime drama for councillors

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Councillors in Kirklees are at odds over who should pay for their dinner next month.

Mayor of Kirklees, Tory councillor Martyn Bolt (Mirfield), last year introduced a £25 charge for diners at the annual mayoral civic dinner to offset the costs. But incoming mayor Labour councillor Ken Smith (Ashbrow) plans to reinstate the free dinner.

The leader of Kirklees Conservatives Coun Robert Light (Birkenshaw) said: “As leader of the Conservative group I do not agree that councillors, or officers, and their guests should have an evening funded by the Kirklees Council taxpayers.

“It is my view that all those attending the event should only be doing so if they are paying for themselves and their guests before the event.”

Leader of Kirklees Council and Kirklees Labour group Coun David Sheard (Heckmondwike) said: “The issue here is that it is a decision that shouldn’t be politicised – it should be the mayor’s choice about whether or not it should be paid for out of the civic budget.”

The civic office budget was cut by £10,000 in this year’s Kirklees Council budget. The reduction is from the events and services line, which pays for parades and civic occasions, and will go towards the dinner.