Good and bad news

February 14, 2011 1:33 PM

Congratulations to Bristol City Council for dropping its search for a new deputy chief executive earning £130,000 a year. Although this came only after a massive outcry following its cutting 400 lower-paid jobs, it is still welcome. Now what about the one European officer, six diversity officers and five climate change officers that cost Bristol taxpayers approximately £434,000 a year?

Mixed messages certainly, but at least Bristol council is starting to see the link between the outrage felt by local people seeing frontline services cut and libraries shut, while senior managers see little alteration to their generous pay packets and pension contributions.

Talking of which, more than £200,000 of council taxpayers’ money every year is being used to top up the pension pots of 89 councillors in the Bristol/Avon area. The previous government changed the rules to allow councillors to join the scheme with assets of £2.3 billion. In Bristol, 27 councillors are having £68,947 of public money added to their pensions. In B&NES, 27 councillors recieve council contributions of £58,933.

A piece of good news is that Bath MP Don Foster has lost his bid for a £500,000 research project to track the living habits of gulls. As the government told Don, ‘Research funding needs to be targeted at problems where there are no or insufficient solutions, and this does not seem to be the case of the problems caused by urban gulls.’ Exactly, the half million pound project proposed by gull-lover Peter Rock would only have resulted in more waffle rather than firm action. But Don is determined to carry on worrying about the problem without doing anything about it—a perfect stance to strike to help his Lib Dem councillors during the upcoming local elections.

Tim Newark, Bath and South West Taxpayers’ AllianceCongratulations to Bristol City Council for dropping its search for a new deputy chief executive earning £130,000 a year. Although this came only after a massive outcry following its cutting 400 lower-paid jobs, it is still welcome. Now what about the one European officer, six diversity officers and five climate change officers that cost Bristol taxpayers approximately £434,000 a year?

Mixed messages certainly, but at least Bristol council is starting to see the link between the outrage felt by local people seeing frontline services cut and libraries shut, while senior managers see little alteration to their generous pay packets and pension contributions.

Talking of which, more than £200,000 of council taxpayers’ money every year is being used to top up the pension pots of 89 councillors in the Bristol/Avon area. The previous government changed the rules to allow councillors to join the scheme with assets of £2.3 billion. In Bristol, 27 councillors are having £68,947 of public money added to their pensions. In B&NES, 27 councillors recieve council contributions of £58,933.

A piece of good news is that Bath MP Don Foster has lost his bid for a £500,000 research project to track the living habits of gulls. As the government told Don, ‘Research funding needs to be targeted at problems where there are no or insufficient solutions, and this does not seem to be the case of the problems caused by urban gulls.’ Exactly, the half million pound project proposed by gull-lover Peter Rock would only have resulted in more waffle rather than firm action. But Don is determined to carry on worrying about the problem without doing anything about it—a perfect stance to strike to help his Lib Dem councillors during the upcoming local elections.

Tim Newark, Bath and South West Taxpayers’ Alliance

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