'Cut pay and close final salary pension scheme' EDDC told

PUBLISHED: 10:06 10 February 2010 | UPDATED: 00:53 16 June 2010

TELEPHONE lines in the Midweek Herald newsroom were red hot last Friday, when we staged a phone-in on the subject of proposed East Devon District Council cutbacks to services.

TELEPHONE lines in the Midweek Herald newsroom were red hot last Friday, when we staged a phone-in on the subject of proposed East Devon District Council cutbacks to services.

The overriding response from you, our readers, was: "Cut staff pay and close the final salary pension scheme."

Eric Cozens, of Beer, said: "The council should do what private industry has done - cut staff pay and close the final salary pension scheme."

Chris Martin, also of Beer, agrees. He said: "Staffing at the council appears to be sacrosanct. It's about time there was a five per cent pay cut."

Alan Surtees, of Honiton, said: "Cuts should start with salaries, not things that affect the people.

"The car parking charges are ridiculous. It doesn't make sense what we pay here."

Mr Surtees is also concerned about allowances being claimed by councillors with "special responsibilities". He believes they are too high and unjustified.

John Ticehurst, of Axminster, said: "Council tax ought to be capped and any increase should not be more than the increase afforded to the old age pension.

"In America, the whole council tax issue goes to an annual meeting, with full accounts, and the public votes. That's a democracy."

Fred Harwood, of Ottery St Mary, used to live in Honiton and he is concerned the market town is being run down into a "dead town".

"They are running it into the ground," he said.

"People pay to park and the toilets should be looked after.

"It is a shame to let this place go."

Irene Bilson, of Ham, near Axminster, said: "I think it is disgusting the council is thinking of putting up the council tax when it is emptying rubbish once a fortnight.

"We've got a cycle lane that nobody uses, but the district council can't afford a few flowers."

Mr Surtees believes staff at Knowle should have to pay a "nominal fee" to park at work.

"We have to pay everywhere we go," he said.

Tony Badcott, of Ottery St Mary, said: "Most, if not all, of these spending problems were created because, for political reasons, the council did not increase council tax last year.

"Many said it would store up problems and, hey presto, we were right.

"If the council had put it up marginally last year it would have saved problems this year."

Thank you to all those who participated in the phone-in.

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