It was depressing to read Quentin Letts howl with indignation about the fact that the Chief Executive of Surrey County Council gets paid £250,000 a year, twice the Prime Minister’s salary. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t disagree with Letts, my issue is that these vast overpayments are so widespread that I hear about them every week.
Under the last Labour Government, payments to local bureaucrats, many of whom add little real value, rocketed. We saw posts that paid £40,000 in 1997 pay £150,000 by 2010. And with gold-plated pensions, many of these people retired in their 50s on two thirds of their final salaries. It’s not hard to see why Council Tax doubled when you have to pay £100,000 a year pension to someone for 30 years.
But if Surrey are a depressingly typical example then I invite Breitbart readers to look over the border in Berkshire. Because right next to Surrey is Windsor and Maidenhead, led by low tax warrior Cllr David Burbage MBE.
Now I must admit that I am little biased toward RBWM, as I used to be policy advisor there, but they are still praiseworthy. They have ruthlessly cut waste and brought down tax by 12 percent.
Even more astonishingly, they abolished the post of Chief Executive, saving taxpayers hundreds of thousands a year. Yes, that’s right. Whilst Surrey pay their CEO £250,000 their nearest neighbour doesn’t even have a CEO!
Anyone visiting Windsor or Ascot will see that the area functions perfectly well: bins get collected, children get to school and, instead of fining people who don’t recycle, they offer M&S vouchers to those who do (given for free by the company).
If not having a CEO is good enough for the Queen’s home town then I’m sure they’d survive in Surrey. The truth is they just lack vision… One is not amused…