COUNCIL: Understand the issues

You recently published letters from Messrs Laschke and Holmes making the same compliant about council budgets (News Guardian, December 13).

Saturday, 22nd December 2018, 6:00 am

There has been an extensive consultation on the budget. Anybody can be involved in this through the residents’ panel if they genuinely feel strongly about the priorities the council sets.

North Tyneside, like many northern councils (less so those in the rural and suburban south), has been savagely hit by 40 per cent reductions in its funding from central government, which is not charity, but our share of the many direct and indirect taxes paid nationally.

The council pays its staff what it has to do to attract them.

I thought I would search some of the companies in the FTSE 250 share index, which are often smaller and certainly less complex businesses than our council. Salaries of £500,000 are commonplace.

Your correspondents may not like the fact that an employment market for talent operates here as elsewhere, but it does.

As for councillors, their allowances are set by an independent panel, which makes recommendations. Councillors can only adopt or reject them. They do not set their own remuneration.

Personally, you could never pay me enough to take the difficult decisions year-on-year to balance budgets and deal with everything from potholes to school places, while putting up with the gripes evident in your correspondents’ letters.

David Slater

Whitley Bay