North Yorkshire Council has dismissed calls to reconsider having sandwiches for its staff delivered by a supplier based more than 50 miles away.
The authority’s executive member for finance, Councillor Gareth Dadd, said with more than 600,000 residents, a budget of £1.4bn and millions of pounds of savings needing to be made, the authority had more pressing issues to be dealing with.
But critics say the authority which has stated ambitions of becoming the country’s most local council as well as being part of the UK’s first carbon negative region should have a rethink.
Coun Dadd was speaking after a scrutiny committee meeting at County Hall in Northallerton heard sandwiches bought in for some of the 600 staff who work there were delivered twice a week from an industrial estate south of Bradford.
Independent group leader Councillor Stuart Parsons said while there could be questions over value for money, he did not believe having sandwiches delivered from West Yorkshire met the authority’s carbon-cutting or buy local policies.
Coun Parsons said he had raised the issue with the council on numerous occasions and the authority had done nothing about it.
He said: “I am convinced that not too far away from County Hall will be somebody who can make and supply sandwiches, thereby cutting the carbon footprint and support the very local economy that needs it.
“The good side of it is the sandwiches come from Yorkshire, but they could be coming from North Yorkshire. I do believe the council should be flying the flag for local and very local where possible. They seem incapable about doing anything about something that they should be able to directly control.”
The council’s Liberal Democrat group leader Councillor Bryn Griffiths urged the council to use local catering suppliers from Northallerton.
He added: “In my experience there are a number of good retail outlets on Northallerton High Street who make excellent sandwiches.”
Councillor Kevin Foster, the Green Party leader on the council, said the group had been set to lodge a notice of motion before all the authority’s members to stop sandwiches being brought in from Bradford.
He said: “It would be better if it was a local firm for a number of reasons.”
The authority’s executive member for finance, Councillor Gareth Dadd, said he did not believe the supplier was travelling from Bradford to deliver sandwiches only to the canteen at County Hall.
He said: “Bradford is just a hop, skip over the border, still in Yorkshire. Where does Councillor Parsons buy his bread from? I bet a penny to a pound it won’t be made in North Yorkshire.
“The council has a £1.4bn budget and I have better things to do than start making demands about where we source sandwiches from.
“I am incredulous that we have stooped to this level about where sandwiches come from. If Councillor Parsons really wants to help the authority and his residents he should be offering sensible ideas for budget savings and efficiencies.”