THE council has been called on to end the “pampering of councillors” by axing the serving of alcohol from the mayor’s room at the tax-payers’ expense.
A Labour group motion is set to be moved at the next full council meeting calling for the authority to “cease with immediate effect the hospitality of serving free alcohol for councillors and visitors”.
A Labour group spokesman said that, in light of the austerity measures which had been introduced in recent years, the “behind closed doors tradition of free alcohol belongs in the past”.
The group said the council has been providing a free bar – built into the mayor’s new quarters last year serving “spirits, fine wines and bottled beers of distinction” for councillors and privileged guests under the guise of hospitality at the discretion of mayor Cllr Paul Greenall.
Cllr John Fillis said: “ It is no longer acceptable to the Labour Group and we believe that the people of West Lancashire are fully behind such change.
“Every council tax-payer in West Lancashire is buying these councillors a drink and they don’t even know it.
“We do not begrudge anyone a cup of tea and a sandwich if meetings go on late, or if it’s a celebration, but the serving of free alcohol is so wrong on so many levels.”
A spokesman for West Lancs council said: “The council has, since 1974, through the chairman of the council and latterly the Mayor, hosted a small number of civic events and civic receptions throughout the year.
“A buffet and limited range of bottled and canned soft and alcoholic drinks (when appropriate) have been provided on such occasions.
“These have included the annual mayor-making ceremony and when long-standing members have been made Alderman of the Council.
“The chairman/mayor has traditionally invited council members to the Mayor’s room after full council for refreshments.
“Food has not been provided for many years.
“The Mayor’s room was relocated in 2011 when Lancashire County Council’s registry office was moved to the front of the borough council offices at 52 Derby Street.
“As part of this arrangement, Lancashire County Council made a contribution which equates to 90% of the costs of the new room.”