We could make some savings

PUBLISHED: 09:38 24 December 2009 | UPDATED: 12:30 10 June 2010

After all the furore over MPs , and others, expenses and allowances, it seemed opportune to have a look at the allowances and expenses claimed by our local councillors.

After all the furore over MPs', and others, expenses and allowances, it seemed opportune to have a look at the allowances and expenses claimed by our local councillors.

I had always assumed, naively obviously, that our erstwhile local councillors were civic minded individuals, who gave their time and effort for gratis in the service of their fellow residents. I had accepted that, in this day and age, when voluntary service has become unacceptable, our councillors might be refunded for some of the direct expenses associated with their position.

Therefore, I was delightfully surprised to discover that Exmouth's 25 town councillors had decided not to claim any allowances during this financial year.

Further delving, however, identified that this might be somewhat of an empty gesture as almost half of our town councillors are also East Devon District Councillors and, last financial year, they all claimed their basic allowance of over £4K plus travel and subsistence and, in some cases, an additional special responsibility allowance!

Indeed, last financial year, the 60 EDDC councillors claimed a total of over £400K in allowances and expenses, of which three claimed more than £17K.

Our 62 Devon County Councillors are even more expensive. Last financial year, they claimed a total of more than £1m, an average of nearly £18K each, which is significantly more than the national minimum wage! Not bad for a part time job!

It is no wonder the leader of East Devon District Council is so "outraged" that the Boundary Committee has recommended that we have a Devon-wide unitary council and dissolve the district councils. Let us just hope the minister accepts the report, implements it and saves us council tax payers some money!

NV Vaughan-Smith,

15 Sherwood Drive,

Exmouth

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