Wirral Tory has 'grounds' to complain after 'George Clooney-style' coffee machine installed in town hall
WIRRAL Council chiefs have been told to "wake up and smell the coffee” after what has been dubbed a “George Clooney” style coffee machine was installed at Wallasey Town Hall at a time when the cash-strapped authority is making cuts to public services.
Wallasey Conservative Cllr Paul Hayes has requested details of the costs of the coffee machine, which has been installed next to the office of the leader of the council Phil Davies, as well as the make and model.
He submitted the questions under the Freedom of Information Act via the ‘What Do They Know’ website, the day after councillors voted through a package of cuts for public services.
Cllr Hayes said: “The hypocrisy is breath taking – they preach austerity and cuts to the taxpayer while splashing the cash on the town hall.
“First we had the ‘Downton Abbey Staircase’, then the air conditioned executive lift, the hand woven carpets and now this all singing, all dancing coffee machine.
“Wirral’s Labour controlled council need to practice what they preach - why on earth do they need a coffee machine that grinds beans into six different kinds of coffee?
“I’m afraid it’s high time Wirral Labour woke up and smelled the coffee. This kind of tax payer sponsored extravagance is an affront to everyone who is fighting Labour’s cuts in Wirral.”
A spokesman for Wirral Council said the new machine is leased through Auto Bar, who have an existing contract with the authority, and has replaced the old machine which was broken.
The spokesman added: “Our FOI team will provide the specifics in response to this enquiry, but in the meantime we can tell you that, as far as we are aware, George Clooney was not involved in its purchase, and does, in fact, advertise coffee machines for a different company.
"The coffee machine is located in the members room for use by all members."
In a statement, Wirral's Labour group described Cllr Haye's criticism as "pathetic", adding: "If Cllr Hayes believes this decision to have been wrong, I trust he will condemn all of his Conservative colleagues who were seen using the new coffee machine at full council last Monday night?"
"Cllr Hayes’s hypocrisy know no bounds: has he forgotten that the funding for the ‘Downton Abbey Staircase’ and the new lift was agreed by the Tory Group when they were in control of the Council in 2011? Is he aware that the carpet in the town hall had to be replaced because the previous one was over 30 years old and was considered a health and safety risk?
"If Cllr Hayes thinks he can use a coffee machine to deflect attention from the millions of pounds of cuts in Wirral Council’s budget by his government and hated policies such as the bedroom tax then he is sadly mistaken."
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