Pensioner's tax protest at council spend

A PENSIONER has reduced his council tax contribution by £10 every month in protest at the “excessive spending” of local government.Robin Rooks is outraged at the recruitment of Suffolk County Council's new chief executive, Andrea Hill, on a salary of up to £220,000 and claims those living on fixed incomes are being forced to “cough up” for the extravagances of local authorities.

Danielle Nuttall

A PENSIONER has reduced his council tax contribution by £10 every month in protest at the “excessive spending” of local government.

Robin Rooks is outraged at the recruitment of Suffolk County Council's new chief executive, Andrea Hill, on a salary of up to £220,000 and claims those living on fixed incomes are being forced to “cough up” for the extravagances of local authorities.

The 66-year-old, from Stowmarket, has decided to reduce his monthly direct debit payments to Mid-Suffolk District Council by £10 every month to make a stand against the way council's spend - and has vowed to maintain his one-man protest for the rest of the year.

Mr Rooks, a father of two grown up children, said: “This reflects my displeasure at the council.

“What annoys me is there's no choice. They say you have the choice at the ballot box but they spend your money and then send you the bill.

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“The new Mayor of London has something like a £130,000 salary - that's to run an enormous budget with huge responsibility. We think Suffolk is worth more - you must be kidding.

“They're spending money for the sake of it. The council find it extraordinarily easy to spend money that if you were running your own company you would think twice about. They spend without regard because they know the source of their income will cough up.”

Mr Rooks added: “We were informed that to attract the right candidate for the chief executive post more money had to be paid - smacks a bit of the football premiership, think of a high number then double it.

“When will we get a better system? After all, the current one is just not fair especially to those on fixed incomes or the many earning around £18,000 per annum, or less.

“There's nothing you can do. This is just a tiny protest against the excesses of those who run the council.”

But a spokesman for the county council said last night: “The council tax has not been increased to pay for the chief executives salary. This year's council tax increase was one of the county's lowest ever.”

A spokesperson for Mid Suffolk District Council added: “Mid Suffolk District Council gives people every opportunity to pay, but we will prosecute anyone who fails to pay the proper amount of council tax.”

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