Completely unfit for the purpose

WE are no longer in the 1920s or the 30s, we are in the 21st Century where everyone should be seen as being treated the same. We are faced with making some major cuts... I am

WE are no longer in the 1920s or the 30s, we are in the 21st Century where everyone should be seen as being treated the same. We are faced with making some major cuts... I am sorry to have to make the cuts at all but we are faced with having to make some hard choices," (Cllr Elfan Ap Rees)."The present policy (free transport to faith schools) is, I believe, against the principles of equality and fairness," (Cllr Peter Bryant).These are some of the words quoted as having been said by two of our councillors at the North Somerset Council meeting in December 2007 when the decision was made to axe free transport to faith schools to obtain reductions in the forthcoming budget. The council told us that it was not discrimination against faith schools but a decision made purely on financial grounds. The decision was, I believe, unanimous.On April 1, 2008, this same council, in a decision that can only be described as extremely arrogant and self-serving, showed the electorate of North Somerset exactly what the "hard choices" were and their own interpretation of 'equality and fairness'.Councillor Ap Rees' 'hard choice' has netted him an extra £7,000 per year. The council leader, Nigel Ashton's, 'hard choice' has netted him an extra £11,500 per year, with the rest of the councillors ensuring the trough contains something for them. I also note that Cllr Bryant, in his search for equality and fairness, is not reported as having voted against the increases.Some people may have approved of the withdrawal of the free transport to faith schools. However, I am sure they will agree that, after sending out 979 consultation papers with 376 being returned, of which 310 wanted to keep the free service, close to an 80 per cent vote should not have been ignored by the council. In ignoring the wishes of the public in this case, and in many other cases including council staff pay, the Tropicana etc, this council has acted more in a dictatorial manner than a democratic manner.The council meeting in December also reported that the savings from axing the free transport would be £42,130 in the 2008/2009 budget, £35,512 in the 2009/2010 budget, with 'significant' annual savings thereafter.Now, just over three months after this mealy mouthed performance by people elected by us to look after our affairs, most of these individuals have had the gall to vote themselves increases in their pay which will make the savings made by axing the free faith school transport look like a three-year-old child's pocket money.If Cllr Elfan Ap Fees, who wants everyone to be treated the same, would forego his colossal money-grabbing increase together with the six executive councillors' increases, the £42,000 that would have been spent for faith school transport for this year would be easily covered.Many councillors of all political hues have shown by their actions they are completely unfit for the purpose for which they were elected i.e. to serve the public with dignity, honesty and integrity. We cannot stop these people doing whatever they want once they are elected but I think that at the next election all members who voted for the public to pay for this increase in their pay should be voted off the council, regardless of political allegiance.If we were to ensure our votes went to a person presently not on the council, except those councillors that voted against the increases, it will go a long way to ensure that those elected will give more thought to the effect of their actions before lining their pockets.P R WILSON - Underhill Drive, Uphill

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