BRADFORD councillors spent 25 per cent less in the last year on refreshments for meetings at City Hall.

Figures from the Council's catering team revealed that £13,480 was spent on food and drink between August 1 last year and July 30 this year.

For the same period between 2012 and 2013, councillors' refreshments for the meetings - which include planning and area committee get-togethers - cost £17,916.

The figures also revealed how much was spent on catering for school appeals meetings, civic events, training and support sessions for councillors, full Council meetings and the chief executive's meetings.

Year-on-year increases were seen at full Council - where tea, coffee and soft drinks were served at a cost of £840, compared with last year's £451 - and training sessions, where members are served refreshments such as sandwiches and drinks at a cost this year of £1,697, up more than 50 per cent on last year's £723.

A total of £31,226 was spent on civic events, down from £60,354 the previous year, while school appeals sessions received £6,099 worth of catering, compared with £5,511 the year before. Chief executive Tony Reeves spent £2,386 on refreshments for meetings in the past year, down from £3,201 in 2012/13.

The figures formed part of the Council catering team's income for the year from hospitality, which totalled £129,933, down from £150,929 in 2012/13.

Catering team manager Cindy Wallace said: "£150,000 was a good year. It was up. £129,000 was down effectively. We have just been able to put our prices up in April so that will have a knock-on effect.

"As a department we have to survive. We get no subsidies - we stand alone. Staff have been cut from 15 to seven over the last two years, but we still have the same work."

Of this year's income, £13,959 came from external customers. Mrs Wallace said: "External customers are people that come from anywhere in the country, coming for specific things or to showcase something. Local businesses come for the prestige.

"We get such a varied group, including royal functions, magistrates and coroners' functions. When the banqueting hall is all dressed up with civic silver and everything else, it is something to behold."

The Council's external income this past year dropped by almost 58 per cent from £32,944 the previous year. Mrs Wallace said that was because the team catered for the BBC the previous year when Bollywood Carmen was filmed live in the city.

Mrs Wallace said a crackdown on councillors' refreshments in 2010 led to a dramatic drop in takings for the catering team.

She said: "Our prices were bludgeoned. 85p per person for tea, coffee and biscuits for all meetings. It wiped 60 per cent off our income there and then."

She added: "We are very proud of what we do here. We provide a good service and do a good job.

"It is all boosting up Bradford and City Hall, showing off what we have got. I think we provide a valuable service - it gives us an edge over other cities. We can cater for it - it's not a bought-in service."