Wealden council - figures very wide of the mark

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I was almost as amazed as your correspondent, Mr Dale, to learn how much I and some of my colleagues at Wealden are reportedly earning (‘How well is Wealden run?’ January 11 edition). I would share some of his outrage if the figures were accurate. However the salary figures he refers to are not salary figures at all but appear to be section costs.

For example the figure quoted for our Chief Finance Officer is not his salary cost but covers a range of charges incurred by the council including those for external auditors, banking fees and the cost of public notices.

The salaries of all senior Wealden officers are published in the Transparency section of the Wealden web site and I must stress are only a fraction of those published by Mr Dale.

The budget proposals for the 2013/2014 year are published in the Cabinet report for its 12 December meeting which is available in the Minutes & Agendas section of our website, www.wealden.gov.uk.

From that report, your readers will see Mr Dale’s speculation about council tax rises is somewhat wide of the mark.

For two years in succession this council has applied 0% increases to council tax, and is proposing to do so again this year.

Debate about the cost of local government is vitally important, and I welcome Mr Dale’s involvement, but please let it be based on the right figures.

Charles Lant

Chief Executive, Wealden District Council