The rot starts with government

Sir – Your disclosure (WHT March 4) of the amount Tory councillor Paul Smith has been paid – for not showing up to any meetings since November – exemplifies everything that is wrong with local governance and, by extension, national government. We have

Sir - Your disclosure (WHT March 4) of the amount Tory councillor Paul Smith has been paid - for not showing up to any meetings since November - exemplifies everything that is wrong with local governance and, by extension, national government.

We have ministers claiming large sums of money and valuable perquisites, justifying these by intoning that their exploitation of the corrupt system comes within the 'guidelines' mainly dreamt up by themselves for their own benefit.

Cllr Smith collected �8,400 in allowances, free of income tax as are the allowances of Ministers, Noble Lords and MPs and high flyers in the Civil Service who are always wanting more.

A fish rots from the head down and so it is with our local representatives who copy the central government ethos. The whole system is rotten to the core. Our roads are a disgrace. Taxes are imposed by people who view our money as their money investing it, and losing it, in Icelandic banks and other dubious enterprises and not in improving the wellbeing of those forced to supply the cash to make life very pleasant for the likes of Paul Smith who despite his dilatoriness is paid by his party as a full time agent with substantial takings from his non-acting as a representative of those who elected him.


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In future vote only for independent candidates.

One way of escaping from this state of affairs is make sure that no candidate is voted in who is in thrall to any party machine; only then will disgraces like the Barnett formula be expunged.

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Ask yourself is it fair that England should have charges upon it to make sure Scotsmen and women sleep in their beds comforted by the knowledge that their houses will not be sold to provide care fees; that prescription charges do not apply north of the border and many other inequalities too numerous to bore you with. How many of our representatives have complained to central government about these matters?

Cllr Smith was voted in by people many of whom are financially far worse off than him; he should be ashamed of his neglect of their needs.

It is true to say that your elected representative is not your representative; he is his representative. He is not alone.

The same page, occupied mainly by Paul Smith's dereliction of duty, showed that 114 people were fined a total of �3,420 for not using their seat belts. Who enjoyed the proceeds of this windfall?

Recently a mother on benefits was fined �80 by her council for accidentally dropping a cigarette butt; she offered to pick it up and put it in a refuse bin which she was not allowed to do by the officious local council officer; a warning would have been more appropriate than the ensuing court case and less costly.

A cigarette butt disappears after the first light rain having less vegetative content than a small oak leaf which can take three years in the open to decay; surely the miscreant tree dropping the leaf should be burned to the ground to teach it a lesson in no littering.

The point being that the punishments do not fit the crimes; what about severely fining councillors' for taking the money but not turning up to do the work promised in their manifestos. You can wait until hell freezes over before that comes to pass.

You would render a great service to your readers if you published the extent of all the monies taken from the council tax by self-serving people like councillor Paul Smith and the many others like him, some of whom, as was reported on the radio recently, take �20,000 and more p.a in allowances and expenses paid for from the council tax impost.

On the next page of the same issue councillor Alan Franey declared that that this council tax (a rise of more than �50) is very satisfactory.

For whom?

Michael Bradbury, Tewin Close, Tewin Wood.

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