Antrim Councillor Alan Lawther said: “These staggering figures show that HMRC, revenue and customs, spent £170,000 on bottled water. This is exactly the kind of unnecessary spending that should be cut immediately. When there is an easy and acceptable alternative from a tap, there is no excuse for this kind of expense. The cash spent on this should instead be spent on safeguarding vital frontline services, like health and policing.
“It’s essential that the public is provided with detail on how their money is being spent because we need to see genuine value for money and transparency. Everything spent by government department in these pressing economic times should be open for scrutiny.
“In Antrim Council, we stopped the routine provision of bottled water several years ago after I questioned its value to the rate payers and its environmental impact. The bottled water industry is one of the most environmentally unsound businesses there is. The environmental costs of bottling water in plastic and transporting it around the world are needless. It has a terrible carbon footprint and I would call on all government departments to stop providing it now and simply use tap water.”