East Devon is 'playing politics'

PUBLISHED: 02:01 23 July 2008 | UPDATED: 22:07 15 June 2010

Thank you for reporting the facts on, what appear to be, false allegations about huge debts" of Devon County Council. The allegations had been made by Cllr Sara Randall Johnson, the Tory leader of East Devon District Council (Herald, July 16). It is har

Thank you for reporting the facts on, what appear to be, false allegations about huge "debts" of Devon County Council. The allegations had been made by Cllr Sara Randall Johnson, the Tory leader of East Devon District Council (Herald, July 16). It is hardly surprising that Cllr Randall Johnson and Hugo Swire MP are opposed to a unitary authority for Devon. Cllr Randall Johnson would lose her job and her council.She and Mr Swire would lose a political power base for Conservative policies. Council tax payers must take a less biased view. Senior citizens will remember the unfairness and chaos when East Devon decided to opt out of the county-wide bus scheme. Many householders feel that East Devon has been relatively poor on recycling.Yes, we need local services, but does it really make sense for departments concerned with strategic issues such as environment, transport, housing, business and taxation to be split up between various councils in the same county? Tories are supposed to want value for money but council tax payers are paying heavily for these extra tiers of local government. Mr Swire is right to raise the issue of local accountability.But I cannot remember him or Cllr Randall Johnson arguing for town councils to be given more powers over local services.Devon County Council clearly have much to gain from unitary status, but they have made clear they support more delegation of services to town and parish councils. Honiton and other councils should take this into account and make sure they consult locally.The mindset of Tories on East Devon seems to be to protect what they have and to suggest it is madness to reform. Yet Wales and Scotland have had unitary councils for many years. Whilst it would be quite wrong to use taxpayers' money to persuade us for or against a unitary authority, one cannot avoid the conclusion that East Devon are playing politics.Tony SimpsonAshleigh RoadHoniton


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