Banqueting councillors have been criticised for splashing out thousands on an annual dinner at a time when the local authority is tightening its belt.
Former town councillor Michael Sylvester has called for members of Rotherham Borough Council to pay their own way at the authority’s annual Civic Dinner, which gobbled up almost £9,000 of public funding at Aston Hall.
While the authority claimed that the event was an important springboard for the Mayor’s Charities, which raised around £47,000 last year alone, Mr Sylvester branded the amount spent on it as ‘disgraceful’.
“Councillors have argued in the past the dinner is essential for launching the Mayor’s Charity campaign, yet the amount spent on the dinner is nearly 20 per cent of the amount raised last year.
“Councillors could help the charities involved more by not feeding themselves and the great and the good of the town but giving the money direct.
Mr Sylvester’s comments came after he received a response to an enquiry made to the borough council under the Freedom of Infomation Act.
It revealed that this year’s Civic Dinner, held on May 18, had cost £8,937 and had been attended by a total of 221 people, including 55 councillors each of whom attended with a guest.
A council spokeswoman said: “The event is a long-established non-political civic occasion which aims to foster good relations between the Mayor and the wider Rotherham community, including both the business and voluntary sector and other dignitaries and partner organisations.
“Those attending celebrated all that is good in Rotherham and this year’s event served as a launch pad for the Mayor of Rotherham’s year of fund-raising with representatives of his nominated charities also attending.
“The event also provides an opportunity to say thank you to people who have invested in the borough or given their time in support of volunteering and providing services.”