I am a founder member and chairman of the Isitfair campaign and as a result I receive letters from all over the country from members telling me their stories regarding council tax, suggestions on how the tax could be made fairer and their difficulties in paying. I also receive a lot of information on how councils spend taxpayers’ money. 

Firstly, a letter received this morning from an Isitfair supporterin the East Midlands has really made me see red.  She asks how we can make the Government and the councils sit up and take notice of the predicament of some pensioners. 

Both she and her husband are of pensionable age and receive no state benefits.  She had since retirement taken on two cleaning jobs to help pay the £1,200 council tax due on their home.  Recently due to the recession she has lost one of these jobs and the second has cut the hours.  She has been unable to find other work. 

Of course you will say that they should apply for benefits – but they have just too much in the way of savings.  Like thousands of other across the country they are asset rich and income poor.  Savings are required to pay for the upkeep on a property they have struggled to buy through their working years.  It is their rainy day money, put by for emergencies.  Unlike Governments, that is what they did, they spent according to their means and saved for those rainy days because, unlike people living in rented property, there is no one else who will pay for replacements and repairs. They are people living on the edge of the benefit system, financially worse off than those receiving all the state benefits. 

Secondly, you can imagine my anger this morning when a reporter telephoned me to ask my opinion on the bonuses or emoluments being paid to the executive staff on councils throughout the country.  People already receiving huge salaries and contributions to their pensions from the public purse, being paid bonuses larger than many of us (including council staff) receive each year to live on and even bring up a family.  It seems that monetary restraint applies only to those in the lower echelons of public service.  

So here we have, on the one hand, this lady of retirement age worrying about how to pay her council tax bill, and taking on cleaning jobs to do so and, on the other hand, people employed by the council receiving fivefigure bonuses on top of salaries so enormous they beggar belief. There is something very wrong here. 

You may say that these high paid executives are responsible for huge budgets, but are they really?  If they are, then why are we paying millions of pounds every year to councillors?  Councillors, I would add, who are also receiving high salaries (or if you really want to be picky, allowances), can also join (and do) a very favourable Local Government Pension Scheme.  You must remember that everything in the public sector is paid for by the private sector. 

 The world has gone mad. 

Many councils have prepared themselves for shedding staff.  They have continued to recruit and still recruit. Last in, first our  Easy come, easy go. 

The proposed £250 per annum pay rise for the lowest paid staff now seems to me to be more of an insult.  I just hope that when the good times roll the flat monetary rise should apply across the board.  The highly paid executives, living  in there own little world of  protected wealth and advantage, and thumbing their noses at their paymasters, must  surely receive their comeuppance.