SOUTH Wales East AM Lindsay Whittle has renewed calls for Welsh local authorities to consider ending annual lunches for civic leaders of other councils.
The former leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council said it is difficult to justify continuing the shindigs when authorities are having to make multi-million pound cuts in services.
A Plaid Cymru supporter’s request under the Freedom of Information Act found that while local authorities in North Wales did not hold the civic dinners the practice continued to be widespread in South Wales.
Mr Whittle said: “Times have changed and while the cost of these functions is very, very small, this is about the image these types of functions give to the public.
“I know local authorities have cut back on this type of spending in recent years, ending handing out gifts to guests. In Caerphilly, the Plaid-controlled authority stopped laying on a special lunch for the consorts of mayors or chairs because it was unnecessary while accepting the support they give their partners.
“I’ve never really been convinced that there is need to hold an annual shindig for fellow civic leaders and with the current spending cuts it is very difficult to justify them to the public.
“There are plenty of ways in which local authorities can work together and learn from each other without the need for these annual get-togethers. And obviously local authorities in North Wales, in particular, seem to get by without holding these functions.”