Unpaid public-spirited volunteers

HAS the cost of so called elected democracy for North Somerset become unaffordable by the tax payers?

HAS the cost of so called elected democracy for North Somerset become unaffordable by the tax payers? Starting at our MP with a salary of �63,291 plus expenses of �143,700, a total of �206,991, add the �769,383 for 61 councillors and you get �976,374. Divide this by 62 equals �15,748 per councillor, or a �5 levy on each person living in the area.

Not so long ago councillors were unpaid public spirited volunteers who really felt they could contribute to the successful running of councils, today most are party nominees and in a number of cases do not even reside in the ward they represent.

The clerk to the council was the administrator and department heads did the work.

The majority of those employed were local people that had a natural interest in the job they did.

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Today department heads are directors and most of the work has been contracted out, some to foreign companies.

This sea change also applies to parliament where public owned corporations such as gas, electricity, telephones, water and sewage, etc, have been sold off at well below their true value. This means the control of these services is no longer in the public domain and politicians have abrogated their powers, which in turn means their number and remuneration should be reduced in line with their reduced responsibilities.

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On top of this Weston has 31 town councillors who it is believed draw no stipend, but their administration still costs taxpayers.

This top heavy political and administrative system has stifled the private sector, the engine of any society, from funds it requires to keep the economy progressing, with the result firms like Clarks in Locking Road have had to move abroad, where taxation and labour costs are lower.

In local elections two thirds of the electors do not vote believing any difference they could make is marginal at the best. It is also a sad state of affairs when people believe councils are now merely Government quangos and those representing a party merely pawns! This system will not change as it suits the party bosses to maintain party policy by patronage of its ever shrinking membership. This means a small 'click' control the selection of our MP and councillors.

Where as years ago councillors were held in high regard by the public, this is no longer the case. Today from MPs to town councillors their esteem is at an all time low and in Weston this is all the more pronounced, mainly due to the way the seafront pool project has been so woefully handled in the interest of developers rather than the feelings of Westonians.

How do we get out of this mess? Well first of all the abolition of the Weston Town Council. This is a comparatively new low-powered body that would hardly be missed.

Secondly half the number of North Somerset councillors and combine with one of our neighbour districts and thereby over time reduce overall administrations costs.

Thirdly only have one MP instead of two. Yes a radical change, but nothing different than has already happened in the private sector; where banks, building societies, supermarkets and many other businesses have had to combine to survive.

Public pressure on the remaining councillors would be greater and the chance for them to pass the buck greatly diminished.


Edinburgh Place


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