Taxpayer billed for falafel and quiche served at town hall meetings

Tea and biscuits - a staple of Tower Hamlets town hall meetings

Tea and biscuits - a staple of Tower Hamlets town hall meetings - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Falafel with yoghurt and mint dips, vegetarian quiches and plates of biscuits are among the delights served up at town hall meetings at the taxpayer’s expense, it has emerged.

Halal, vegetarian and fish selections and bottled water were laid on at meetings hosted by Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman and his nine cabinet members during the last financial year.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show a total of £4,300 was spent on refreshments for Mayor Rahman and his cabinet during 2011/12.

A spokesperson for public spending pressure group the Taxpayers’ Alliance said: “Many taxpayers will think some of these bills really take the biscuit.

“If councillors want to cut the bill then ditching the bottled water and fancy finger food would be a good start.”

Almost £1,500 was spent on tea and coffee for meetings, with thousands more being splurged on biscuits, fruit and other snacks.

Other items charged to the expense account included 63 carafes of water and a £32 tray of Danish pastries.

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More than £700 was spent on sandwiches and buffets for meetings, where sate chicken skewers appeared on the menu alongside sandwiches, wraps, quiches, falafel and other treats.

A spokesperson for Tower Hamlets Council said: “Various meetings are held during the working day and evenings at which the Mayor and Cabinet Members meet with external visitors to whom appropriate hospitality is shown.”