Parking fees an 'illness tax'

PUBLISHED: 14:45 04 October 2008 | UPDATED: 14:42 09 April 2010

It is rare for me to find so much in one copy of your excellent paper to comment on. However, the edition of September 18 contained a plethora of subjects, begging greater debate and public scrutiny. Firstly, we were treated to the headline Hospital car

It is rare for me to find so much in one copy of your excellent paper to comment on. However, the edition of September 18 contained a plethora of subjects, begging greater debate and public scrutiny. Firstly, we were treated to the headline "Hospital car parking fees?". The subsequent article confirmed how low our local NHS trust will stoop in its quest to generate revenue from the sick and their relatives, by introducing an "illness tax" which, in Exmouth and Budleigh, will impact upon those whose incomes are static and whose age leaves them open to abuse by the vultures at health care trust HQ - ie the elderly pensioners. The trust spokesperson trots out the stale old excuse about people parking in hospital car parks while they go off to work, which, sadly in Budleigh and Exmouth, does not hold water. This is just scandalous revenue generation and they should hang their heads in shame. Secondly, the great waste of money by East Devon District Council and Devon County Council fighting the "Super Council" unitary authority fiasco. Please can someone from either of these hallowed halls inform me where in their mandate as "public servants" does there exist a clause which states that public money may be used to fund propaganda campaigns to fight government legislation or proposals they don't like the look of? I object most resolutely to council taxpayers' money being used to try to save their gravy train. Many figures were trotted out in the Journal as to how much they were spending on propaganda and I was struck dumb by the comment from DCC that the £35,000 they had spent on "staff costs and public relations fees" would be found from "efficiency savings". This beggars belief; pray tell what efficiency savings, other than reducing services to those who you purport to represent. We are told that millions will be saved by having a unitary authority so, if that is the case, let those worthies who make these claims put their names to them and promise that, should unitary status be granted and these savings not appear, they will relinquish their positions at the "golden trough" and resign for deliberately misleading the electorate. Thirdly, we have the "Free swims could cost LED £15,000" debacle! I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong but, this time, those at EDDC, who are spending lots on propaganda to tell us how invaluable they are, have made a great big gaffe, showing their true colours. It would seem that we, the overburdened taxpayers, have just funded the multi-national giant that is Kellogg's in an advertising campaign for their cereals. We are told 30 million vouchers for "free swimming" went out on Kellogg's products and £15,000 worth have been redeemed through East Devon's council-run facilities - not one penny of which will be paid by Kellogg's to reimburse EDDC. Now that is what I call gross mismanagement. Why have we, the taxpayer, assisted a multi-national corporation, worth billions of pounds, to advertise its products with a "giveaway" paid for by the taxpayers of East Devon? You could not make this up! Perhaps I can propose a solution to retain the status quo with Kellogg's. Maybe EDDC should issue a "get a free pack of Frosties voucher" to every council taxpayer in East Devon, who votes in favour of EDDC in the boundary commission debate. This would be "JUST GRRRRREEEAT!!" Ian Woolger, 16 Otter Court, Budleigh Salterton

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