MANY of your readers will not be aware of the annual cost to the public of Ealing councillors - between them they claimed more than one million pounds in allowances last year.
Fifteen of them drew an average of £25,000; 18 of them a sum nearer £15,000. The remainder obtained lesser amounts reducing to the basic entitlement of £9,480.
The local elections take place on May 6 and now is the time to ask those seeking re-election what they have received this money for, and about the contribution they have made to the better conduct of public affairs.
It is now becoming clearer that we are moving towards a full-time 'professional' body of councillors. The longstanding principle that councillors gave up their own free time to serve the public is becoming a thing of the past when nearly half of them are receiving more than the average wage. This is confirmed more so when they can now join the council's pension scheme.
I urge the public not to vote for those who appear to be standing as candidates who seem to be doing so for material gain.
We have had the exposure of MPs' expenses and of the Lords. Now is the time to examine the lower levels of government. Will we be told that these extravagant allowances have been set by an independent body? Of course we will - but independent of whom? This is the question.
L E PORTER Southall