During the past five years while the present administration has been in office at Scottish Borders Council, the coffee-making facilities have been upgraded twice to provide free coffee for councillors at a cost of thousands of pounds. At the beginning of this period, councillors saw their remuneration almost doubled so they must surely now be in a position to pay for coffee if they require it.
Last week, Councillor Nicholas Watson, Borders Party, seconded by Councillor Davie Paterson, Independent, put forward a proposal to have councillors pay for their coffee. Mr Watson suggested this would bring about savings of approximately £7,650, calculated on all councillors having three cups a week.
Coffee can be bought by members of the public and SBC employees at a cost of £1.50 a cup, and our councillors are supplied with free tokens. What a pity that these councillors, with the exception of Sandy Aitchison, rejected the proposal and missed an opportunity to show an example to us all as election time approaches.
In the scale of finances at SBC, this sum may not be significant, but it should not be forgotten that while in office this is the same council that substantially increased the cost of services to the elderly, frail and vulnerable, for the supply of ready meals and care alarm monitoring, while also redesignating sheltered housing complexes and paying of wardens.
Such measures made it increasingly difficult for some to continue to live independently in the community, especially when these charges were added to escalating food and fuel costs.
So are we really all in this together?