Planning costs are real burden

THE manufactured and self-righteous anger of Amber Rudd and the conservative Taxpayers Alliance over the salary levels of some Hastings Borough Council employees is both ludicrous and nauseating.

I work in private industry so I hold no personal candle on behalf of council staff.

Neither do I know if the individuals concerned are personally worth their salary.

What I do know is that a ratio of 4:1 of the highest salaries to the average of local employees compares very favourably with the ratios of higher to lower level salaries in the private sector.

This reaches it’s peak in the City where the banking spivs in their guaranteed, secure, no risk jobs regularly command 100 times the national average. These are the people who landed us in the present economic crisis, don’t forget, not anybody employed by the council.

As for the fact that some employees have company cars and some claim travel expenses, if they are working on company business what else would they do? Does Amber pay for her expenses out of her own pocket? No, thought not.

The suggestion that ‘people at the top should be taking a token pay cut’ is bizarre. How big a pay cut is a token? What would it fund?

As it is, all council staff are on a pay freeze, so are effectively taking a five per cent pay cut every year (as are many of the rest of us, but not those in the City).

Finally, the article repeatedly refers to the big sums of money council staff are ‘taking home’. ‘Take home’ pay usually means income after deductions for tax and national insurance, but the figures being quoted here are gross salary levels.

Since the higher paid, quite rightly, pay a bigger percentage of their income in tax than the lower paid then the real ratio of pay being taken home is even less than the modest figure headlined.

The real scandal exposed by the article is the pitifully low figure of the average wage in Hastings, far lower than the national average, which isn’t great itself. Now that really is something that should inspire anger. What does Amber think about it?

JOHN GATELY

Harold Terrace, Battle