CBC's Chief Executive "Earns More Than Angela Merkel or Justin Trudeau"

On Thursday 25th February 2016, former CBC councillor for Parkside, Houghton Regis, Dr Rita Egan used the device of 'questions by the public' to deliver these comments to Central Bedfordshire Council as they met to set their budget for 2015/16

By Dr Rita Egan

My question to this Council is a follows.  When are you going to take any notice of your consultation outcomes when the outcomes are not what you want to hear.  This year’s budget consultation, which took place between 4th January and the 8th February, is yet another example of how Central Bedfordshire fulfils its statutory duty, then ignores what residents say.  On this occasion, more residents were opposed to the general tax increase than were in favour.  The author of this report might describe the outcome as finely balanced, but I’m sure the terminology would have been quite different if the residents had narrowly agreed with the Council’s wishes.  As it is, they did not.  Why are they being ignored?

Dr Rita Egan in earlier campaigning days to get
 hedges trimmed and footpaths repaired in Kirton Way
Residents were also concerned about their ability to pay the increases.  This council doesn’t seem too concerned about that either, noting only that there were more elderly people responding to their survey than any other group.  Hardly surprising, as the Council tax is a regressive tax which affects low income earners and fixed income pensioners more than wealthier residents.  I see no effort by this Council to address these concerns except to say, to me personally in fact, that as pensioners have a tripled locked guaranteed 2.5% increase in their pension, they can afford to pay.  In other words, pensioner increases are ripe for the plundering.  Will this council stop regarding annual pension increases as an additional funding source?

There were also a significant number of residents (we are not told how many) who expressed concern at how much council officers and executive members get paid.  Well, that’s something I’ve been complaining about for years, but apart from hiring newer officers on lower salaries (still over £100,00 a year though) nothing has been done to reduce the stratospheric pay of the chief executive and the directors of Adult social Care and Children’s Services.  To put this into perspective, I took a look at the salaries of world leaders to see how our remuneration compared.  The results are illuminative, to say the least. The Chief Executive’s salary is £185,000 and converted at today’s rates is worth around $260,00 dollars.   This salary ranks 12th on the list of world leaders salaries and is more than either Angela Merkel or Justin Trudeau.

This chart is indicative only. Different web sites show varying sums,
depending on when the last raise was given, the time of the survey and the prevailing exchange rates.

Even the Directors of Children’s Services and Adult Social Care earn more than the heads of government of France, Japan, Italy, India and China.

We are a not for profit organisation funded by the tax payers.  We are not a bank, a corporation and we do not have pay share dividends.  The difference between the lowest paid worker on this Council and the Chief Executive’s salary is in the region of £170,000.  I am asking again that the formula used to justify this salary must be revisited such that instead of earning no  more than 7.5 times the average wage of council workers, it should be no more than 7.5 times the lowest paid worker.
As I have said, I have no faith in council consultations as their outcomes are only adopted when they coincide with what the Council wanted to do in the first place.

On this occasion, the majority of residents were not in favour of an increase in the general council tax to the tune of 1.75% and I am asking therefore, that for once you listen to your residents.

Dr Rita Egan.

Listen to recording and response from CBC Conservative councillors from about 12 minutes: http://www.centralbedfordshire.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/208084