If I might make just one or two comments on the Observer’s column.
Firstly the council is in a very invidious position with regards to staffing costs which are, as I have commented on many occasions before, a national problem for the public sector as a whole.
To remind Observer, service delivery costs in the public sector when I last checked with the Office of National Statistics was sitting at over 74 per cent of National Gross Product and this was, at that time, rising.
I’ve no reason to suspect that this figure has reduced significantly. To put this in some sort of perspective one economist said this figure should be nearer 50 per cent, some, I guess would argue that this should be even lower.
Remember the current troubles in the Eurozone have been caused by a bloated public sector and gross overspending.
Again, as I have said before, the problem arose back in 2003/4 when largesse was heaped on the public sector causing a huge imbalance between the sectors. The repercussions we have been feeling ever since – by way of public sector redundancies, reductions in services, increased charges etc.
Councillors and the government are therefore faced with the problem of trying to get the sectors, as well as the economy, back into balance. Boston is already a very lean council so the last thing we want is to lose capacity to deliver important services to our town.
Hence the current stance by councillors as a way to help deal with the problem and retain staff. Sometimes we have to take a step back to go forward. I’m not condoning this course of action but it is one way to cure a very serious national problem – people must understand this if we are to thrive as a nation.
I’m equally certain that senior and executive staff will also have to comply with the new terms and conditions. I do know that a majority of council staff fully understand the position.
Observer has made a good point on councillor allowances but as far as I am aware staff already have to pay for their parking which was part of a previous review on staff benefits.
I’m sure councillors are more than willing to listen at different ways to cure a very difficult situation.