With Community Grants at risk, cuts to local services, and significant child poverty in some areas of the Borough, it is obscene that William Benson, the Chief Executive of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, has been awarded a £15,000 per annum pay rise.
Add to this the deteriorating state of pavements and roads in the Borough, the burden of a £77m loan for an unwanted Civic Complex development, and an increase in council tax, local residents will no doubt see this as unacceptable.
As one member of TW Alliance added
“for the majority of local tax payers, this will come as a huge insult, given the lack of real term pay rises most are facing this year with steep increases in monthly living costs. Is Mr Benson’s £126,240 a year salary not enough? Mr Benson’s pay rise of 12% is way above the predicted national average of about 3%”.
TWBC have warned that due to the loss of funding from central government they will have to make some tough decisions regarding cut backs and council tax increases. This significant pay rise and the historic increases in councillor allowances will no doubt have residents asking two questions: Firstly, just how much will service cut backs and increases in council tax go to funding salary rises? And secondly, will the Council ever realise the realities its residents face and begin working for the resident rather than for themselves?