The following might give the ‘Observer’ a clue to where all the money disappears to through closures or increased charges.
A few years ago I reported in these columns that staffing costs including pensions absorbed an astonishing 95 per cent of the net budget available at Boston Borough Council – I think today it’s possibly down to about 83 per cent no thanks to the current administration – still unacceptably high.
This was by no means unique amongst local authorities at any level.
It was therefore an inevitability despite council tax doubling over the period from 1997 to 2007, that reductions in services including closures would take place over the coming years simply to prop up the inflated salaries and benefits of staff.
Besides this Boston Borough Council simply had too many commitments. For example, at one time the Geoff Moulder Leisure Pool needed support from the tax payer to the tune of almost £900,000 per year now down to a slightly more acceptable £250,000, the PRSA needed similar ongoing support but not quite as bad.
So in Boston’s case it was first to try to reduce these ongoing commitments and then to maintain the current salary and benefit levels.
Again I reported that the largesse heaped upon the public sector by the Labour government in 2003/04 resulted in huge increases in staffing costs (which not so many months back was sitting at an average of £4,000pa above the salaries enjoyed by the private sector on a like for like basis) for which we are all now being asked to pay for by suffering the loss of services and increased charges.
The most recent example in Boston is the increase in parking charges which as far as I can see was totally anti-business and opposite to what the ruling party proclaimed in their manifesto.
This can only be changed by the people at both borough and county level at election time otherwise just grin and bear it!