Pay for the care out of basic allowance

MANY letters were published last week regarding the huge increases in the voluntary councillors' allowances, but it does not end there. These allowances are for them to

MANY letters were published last week regarding the huge increases in the voluntary councillors' allowances, but it does not end there. These allowances are for them to carry out their duties. On top of this they can claim travelling and subsistence allowances, car parking, dependent carers allowance (child care or other dependents) plus other expenses such as paper and office equipment etc.Their own employees do not get carers allowance, so why should voluntary councillors receive it? Those carers who care 24/7, and there are many thousands in North Somerset, get nothing. They have to pay for any help, and they are means-tested. Are these voluntary councillors means-tested? I think not. When you take on a voluntary position you should consider your own responsibilities and be sure you can take on the work of a councillor, not rely on the rate payers to fund you, and pay for the care out of your basic allowance, like the employees who have to pay out of their pay for child-care.The pensions which have been voted through will cost £92,000 est. for this year and will of course increase steadily each year. We are already paying the Avon Pension Fund £9 million a year for employees. We cannot afford this extra money for volunteers, and the monies are being taken out of the contingency fund. It has not been included in the budget for 2008/09.Councillors are quite content to cut funding to vulnerable children, the elderly, transport, put up day-care, meals on wheels, etc., but they can find £250,000 to pay for their own increases and pensions. This is not fair. The executive member who suggested these cuts approved at the full council meeting did not realise that the Severn Day Centre already pays £4.50 a day, totalling just over £31,000 a year, to the council, so he will have to find this amount out of his budget somewhere because he will be short of this amount, and we pay him over £20,000 to make mistakes like this.In the Mercury last week it showed a map of the possible flood areas. Well, don't rely on any help from North Somerset Council. It has already made its flood officer redundant on their cost cutting exercise. I had to wait six days last February when I was flooded to get a response from this council, and that was from roads and open spaces department. Most of my flooding was caused by blocked drains. They cleared about five drains both sides of the road, but the rest of the road is still, two months later, full of blocked drains, completely covered with mud and debris, yet the councillors will get their increases.Why are the residents of North Somerset not letting their councillors know how angry we all are at the devious ways of looking after themselves instead of the electorate? (I'm alright, Jack, not bothered about you).PEARL COLLMAN - Wolvershill Road, Banwell


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