Simple answer to Andrea's appointment

WHEN Suffolk county councillors vote on Thursday to ratify the appointment of their new chief executive on a controversially enhanced annual pay of £220,000, they should consider this question.

Graham Dines

WHEN Suffolk county councillors vote on Thursday to ratify the appointment of their new chief executive on a controversially enhanced annual pay of £220,000, they should consider this question.

If outgoing chief Mike More had gone to council leader Jeremy Pembroke and said: “Give me a £70,000 pay rise and I'll stay in Suffolk rather than moving to Westminster city council,” what answer would he have been given?

If Mr Pembroke and the rest of the controlling Conservative group can in all truthfulness look voters in the eye and say they would have done so, then they can proceed unabashed with a clear conscience and appoint Andrea Hill on the increased salary.

If the answer is 'no' then they should vote to tell Mrs Hill that she can come to Suffolk on the same pay scale as Mr More was on.

HOUSE prices are mushrooming, inflation is running at more than 8%, and food prices have rocketed by 23.3%. That's what's happening in China and these higher costs will mean inevitably that exports to the west such as white goods, clothing and shoes will cost more with higher prices percolating through to British consumers.

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But not a word about this in Alastair (trust me, everything will be okay) Darling's Budget.

The Government is in denial. Don't be surprised if ministers hibernate this summer to get out of the path of the storm which threatens to engulf as all.

IF you think your local comprehensive school is failing and you plan to move to give the kids a better chance in life, don't head for California, the sunshine fiefdom of Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

School districts in the state are struggling to balance their budgets as they face a potential $4.8billion state funding shortfall. The California department of education estimates nearly 20,000 teachers and other staff have received redundancy notices with at least one district - Placentia Yorba-Linda Unified - offering a $1,000 bonus to workers who retire or resign by April 1.

Conejo Valley Unified in Ventura county is closing two campuses while Los Angeles Unified is facing a projected $460million deficit but has decided not to issue layoff notices to any permanent teachers -although up to 6,500 probationers could be sacked.

The Los Angeles Times quotes one parent, Barbara Schwartz who moved to Oak Park in Ventura county because of the highly regarded school - only to find the district has now notified 40 instructors, 20% of its teachers, that they might lose their jobs.

Says Mrs Schwartz of her son's Eric schooling: “To think that he might be in a larger class . . . how are you going to get the attention you need? It's very depressing.”

A lesson indeed for middle class Brits who move house to ensure children go to a “good” school, as defined by the annual league tables of state schools. You never know what's around the corner.

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