Regarding the disappointingly complacent leaflet received from my Tory councillor, I do not accept that waste and bureaucracy have been reduced or their budget managed responsibly.
In these dire economic times the county council should lead by example. The last published CC annual report shows 11 officers with basic salaries in excess of £100,000 pa excluding benefits and the average package of the top five exceeded £170,000 pa. This does not set a compassionate example to their constituents struggling to pay council tax.
Irrespective of ‘market rates’ our council representatives should demand a 5 per cent cut in the pay of senior CC staff, together with a 5 per cent reduction in their own allowances and expenses. Yes, some may leave. Good, as it will enable others to be employed at a lower rates. Middle tier staff would then be more amenable to pay restraint.
Adult education, particularly for bored pensioners, should be slashed. (I attended a CC subsidised wine-tasting course. Come on, this is quite unnecessary!)
The CC have failed to prioritise the needs of small businesses that are the key to employment growth and general community wellbeing. They should be creating much closer working relationships with local chambers of commerce, FSB, etc and respond to their members’ concerns positively and quickly.
Draconian imposition of parking restrictions in towns like Heathfield makes it difficult to support an excellent grocer, butcher, etc; at the expense of encouraging fast flowing through traffic which does nothing for the town and jeopardises the safety of shopping pedestrians.
In short wherever possible the CC needs to devolve responsibilities to district and parish councils where these mostly volunteers have their fingers on the pulse and know what is best for their own community.
Planning and parking are a good examples where locals know best and where the imposition by outsiders of, for instance, ‘travellers’ sites’, blights the values and wellbeing of the community.
This programme of change has been substantially endorsed by UKIP candidates which is why I supported them on May 2.