Yesterday the Coventry Telegraph used the our ‘Town Hall Rich List’, published last month, to run a story about the top ten bosses at Coventry City Council raking in no less than £1million between them. The fact that today the same newspaper published an article about two very elderly residents being denied 'meals on wheels' due to the local authority’s cost cutting measures goes along way to illustrate just where the priorities of this council lie. And it doesn’t appear to be with those who really need its services.
As top local execs in Coventry enjoy generous salaries of over £100k on the taxpayer, Wallace and Lillian Rowley – 91 and 89 years old respectively – are having to survive on sandwiches and the occasional microwave meal donated by neighbours after having been refused meals on wheels on the grounds that they ‘aren’t disabled enough’. This comes at the same time as a hike in the cost of these meals to £4.10 as part of budget cuts.
Mrs. Rowley suffers with advanced rheumatoid arthritis, whilst Mr Rowley has heavily bandaged legs due to ulcerations and often experiences “giddy spells” according to the article.
Mrs. Rowley told the reporter: “All we can do now is look at these four walls. It’s not safe for us to cook as we don’t have the strength in our arms and legs. We end up just dropping things”.
Despite this, they’ve been judged self-sufficient in accordance with newly tightened rules on who receives social care as the council try to save money.
The question really is how these highly paid officials sleep at night when their cuts deny such services and jeopardise the health of needy individuals, all whilst council spending supports hair-brained environmental projects and a £4million publicity machine?
When we pay our taxes, most of would like to think our money goes – as a priority – to provide basic frontline services and to support those in need through no fault of their own, but it appears that such people are having to take a back seat as money is eaten up by hefty pension schemes for council workers, increasing allowances for councillors, fat cat salaries of executives, an ever-growing middle-management level earning double the average salary each and glossy leaflets and publicity, promoting the council to an electorate who have no choice over who provides their services.
Coventry City Council defended themselves yesterday, using the usual arguments that these inflated salaries carry “a lot of responsibility” and attract “the best people in a competitive work market”, but do they really? After all, they’ve attracted the very people who’ve sat back and allowed this fundamentally unfair distribution of public resources to continue. In an ideal world, we’d have our basic services provided and the rest of our council tax returned to us as a cut so that we can spend it as we see fit, especially in this recession. With this in mind it really is all the more appalling to learn that these supposedly dynamic individuals at the top of the local government tree are removing the most basic wants of the public whilst directing more and more money in their own direction – a sure-fire way to lose the faith of residents who’re completely fed-up of being ripped-off.