hall chiefs are the real looters” was a headline in yesterday’s Sunday
Telegraph. Quite strong stuff but perhaps not undeserved. The voters in council
leader Teresa O’Neill and councillor Craske’s wards seem to think the same with close
to 100% of residents ready to
sign the petition in favour of government Minister Eric Pickles’ plans to slow the gravy train.
The Telegraph went on to say “Our prisons may be bulging with teenagers who walked off with trainers and TV sets which didn’t belong to them. But while our government is still having to borrow £3 billion every week to cover the shortfall in paying for our bloated public sector the most blatant looting epidemic of all appears to rage on wholly unchecked”.
In the preceding week The Daily Telegraph shed a little light on the mysterious organisation behind the chief executives’ pay bonanza. It is called SOLACE which doesn’t stand for Society of Looters and Criminal Extortionists as you might expect and exists to hike up local government pay rates. Not only that, it is partially funded by local councils. Grant Shapps, the Housing Minsister is reported to have said a few days ago “I fail to see the business case for the public funding a body that has acted as a broker for local authority chief executives helping to bump up their pay as they move from council to council. There is an urgent need to rein in excessive chief executive pay packets and exercise some restraint, which is why I am calling on all public bodies to cease funding SOLACE.” Bexley council leader Teresa O’Neill, as we know from her numerous statements on the subject, strongly disagrees with sentiments like that. But probably Mr. Shapps will prove as toothless as ministers Eric Pickles and Bob Neill have been in tackling councils that do the opposite of whatever they recommend. (And will minister James Brokenshire prove any less toothless in combatting his local police force when they are intent on covering up a crime, one might ask.)
SOLACE : Society of Local Authority Chief Executives.