A lotta bottle! Council’s £52,000 for drinks of water

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Calderdale Council is set to guzzle its way through more than £52,000 worth of bottled water in just two years.

A staggering £24,956.17 was spent on it from April 2010 to March 2011 and the forecast for the next financial year is even higher at £27,489.63.

The figures also include cash spent on topping up and maintaining water coolers over 65 council sites.

Yet the axe is poised to fall elsewhere as the authority looks for ways to save £65 million over the next three years.

Recent cuts have included around £50,000 from its grants budget and 300 jobs from the payroll.

Road safety campaigner Andrew Tagg said it was “diabolical” to spend so much on water when traffic calming he has petitioned the council for in Bradshaw, Halifax, was turned down due to a lack of cash.

His colleague Tom Lees obtained the figures through a Freedom of Information request.

Mr Tagg said: “I find a little rich that in times of austerity when families are having to tighten their belt the council is spending money on bottled water.

“Additionally Calderdale has some of the best tap water in the country and bottled water also has a very high carbon footprint due to the requirement to transport the water, and wash out or dispose of the plastic containers.

“I know the council might feel that £52,000 over 2 years is only small fry but a few small fries soon add up to a big fish.”

Coun John Beacroft-Mitchell, cabinet member for performance and resources, defended the expenditure but said the issue was under review.

“The council has a duty of care to its 6,500 employees and members of the public to ensure that it provides safe, clean drinking water in workplaces.

“It is currently reviewing the way it uses all of its facilities and buildings to ensure that it is working as efficiently as possible and getting the maximum value for money.

“As part of that review we are looking at the cost of providing drinking water in workplaces.”

The company which supplies water to Calderdale has a bottling plant in Elland.