'Pay for it yourselves' - what you said as Sunderland Lib Dems call for councillors to 'cut their own buffet'

Sunderland Civic Centre.
Sunderland Civic Centre.

Taxpayers in Sunderland have been sharing their views on "free meals" available to councillors in Sunderland.

The discussion comes after Lib Dems in the city revealed they were launching a motion to scrap the meals this week, along with subsistence expenses claims for meals in cases other than an overnight stay.

At present, all councillors and their guests can get a free buffet after full council meetings at a public cost of £5,000 for year.

Council Leader Graeme Miller, described the Lib Dems' bid as an "obsession" which shows that members "have their priorities wrong".

He added: "The council supplying a meal is more cost-effective than councillors claiming subsistence for food after the meeting and is a long-standing arrangement."

We asked you for your view on the issue on Facebook, with many calling for councillors to pack their own meals as they do, and use money from their own pocket to pay for it like "ordinary workers".

Others argued that the buffets, which cost the public £5,000 a year, are a "pittance" when looking at the high level of cuts faced by the local authority.

Sunderland's Liberal Democrat and Others group is due to launch a motion on Wednesday.

Here's what you had to say about the issue on the Sunderland Echo Facebook page:

Lynne Pennington: "No ordinary worker gets free meals for going to work so why should councillors and MPs get it."

Chris Higgins: "Spend your own money, not ours."

Margaret Crosby: "And they wonder why people are 'obsessive' about council spending!"

June Redford: "Yes give the food to the homeless on pavements near Park Lane."

Mellanie Meehan: "Yes they are paid enough to pay for their own food."

Pete Bogg: "Every person I know who works has to pay for their food, councillors should be no different working away from home, like for most jobs should be provided expenses at reasonable rates."

Andrew Strachan: "At a cost of £5,000 per annum it really is a pittance in the context of the current council expenditure and anticipated cuts to the budget."

Read more: Sunderland Lib Dems call for 'end to free meals for councillors'

Glenn Davey: "Nurses have to pay to park in hospital car parks when at work so why should they get free meals."

Marie Pentland: "Hear hear! Money could be spent on clearing up the street."

John Henry: "What a shame. Do what the rest of us do and eat on the go. But pay for it yourselves - we have to."

Margaret Stockdale: "Use the money to feed the homeless and pensioners."

David Lucas: "If I don't bring food to work or pay for it I don't eat."

Julie Fenwick: "They ought to pay for their own lunch like everyone else."

Lynne Leedham: "Yes if the council is short of money and services are being cut there is no way they should be providing buffets."