THOUGH the funding cuts imposed on it by central government have led to some difficult decisions having to be made in terms of cuts to local services, there is one area of council expenditure that the Leeds public would be only too happy to see scaled back.
Four years ago, Leeds City Council’s hospitality bill was just shy of £100,000 a year – or nearly £2,000 a week.
A staggering amount, in subsequent years it has been reduced to the point where, as the YEP reveals today, it stands at £69,000 for the current financial year.
It is to be expected that a city of the size and status of Leeds needs to spend money on ‘wining and dining’ various guests – whether they be visiting dignitaries or officials who came as part of last year’s Tour de France Grand Depart.
However, it should be a moral duty of the ruling administration to keep such costs in check, particularly when the effects of budget cuts are being felt so keenly in terms of closed care homes, job losses and reduced funding for public services.
It should be recognised that the council has made significant progress on this front, reducing the annual bill by more than a quarter since the last election. The taxpayers whose hard-earned money pays that bill are within their rights, however, to expect to see this total continue to fall in the future.