Thanet Star

Conservative Confusion

There seems to be mixed messages coming from the Conservative camp regarding the Margate Caves (the Labour camp having gone silent)

We have one trustworthy Conservative telling us that the caves will cost 100,000 to 150,000 to put back into operation and another trustworthy Conservative telling me directly that this is a a spurious invented figure of my own devising.

The estimate regarding the costs of getting the caves to good order comes from Cllr Simon Moores who himself is a businessman. While I feel Dr Moores might have erred on the side of caution with a slightly enlarged estimate I see no reason to doubt his good intentions or indeed the quality of his estimates in this. Sure with something more solid (like a site survey and some actual quotes) the true figure might emerge but 100,000 seems a reasonable ballpark figure.

Understandably, I hope, I was upset when I learned from a number of trustworthy sources that the Chief Executive was being paid off to the tune of 200,000 to 230,000 while the Margate Caves were left to rot. This opinion Cllr Chris Wells called self righteous shock and horrer (sic).

Cllr Chris Wells' has spent some considerable effort to convince me that the Chief Executives pay off is a fiction without backing up his claims with anything approaching facts. He rightly points out to me at some point you have to trust someone's word and the word I currently have the most trust for said the figure was 200,000 plus 30,000. What throws dust into the air over the Margate Caves issue is that Mr Wells went on to say You then link a spurious invented figure to another spurious invented figure regarding Margate Caves in what he calls one of the best examples of the unctious fantasy world of bloggers I have yet seen.

Yeah that last one really convinced me Chris. It convinced me that Simon and Chris need to sit down and have a chat. With an election looming I am note sure that the Conservative Party can afford to have one member referring to the work of another as spurious, invented and unctious fantasy however impressive it is to see a councillor with a decent command of language.

I am positive that both Cllr Chris Wells and Cllr Simon Moores truly mean well and wish to provide an explanation to the rather grieved public. However all that has been achieved is the muddying of the water and the throwing of dust into the air.

Sometimes a little trust is all that is needed but we are talking about an area of local governance where the average person only trusts the authority to rip them off and do them over. Where the man on the street almost expects his council members to line their own pocket and is not the least bit surprised if they do. In such an environment the word of strangers has little value. The word of anyone has little value. Cold hard facts, on the other hand, demonstrate trustworthiness and in time might create a situation where at least some people are trusted a bit.

For the Dance of Vroomfondel and Majikthise we might have demanded rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty in which to disagree violently and slag each other off for the benefit of our own publicity but in this mater we demand solid, verifiable, documented facts. The Conservative Party need solid facts to back up their election chances the tax paying public need solid facts to know what their money is being spent on and those supporting the Margate Caves also need solid facts with which to work.

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Public Comments

This Normal comment was left by Dave [score: 0]:

Matt, whatever the payoff is it will eventully have to be declared to the public by TDC but I guess those councillors who have agreed the sum would rather it came out after the May election. One thing is for sure the payoff will be made in the next tax year but at least 230,000 will attract tax at 50% on most of it. Unless of course TDC are making special provision for this one individual.
You could always put in a FOI request but it will be after May when the reply would come. You may rememember in a similar situation that and agreed 200,000 payoff to the chief exec of KCC turned out to be 400,000 or more because of his pension position could not be disadvantaged!
07/02/2011 16:18:21

This Normal comment was left by Matt B [score: 0]:

Do redundancy payments attract tax in the same way wages do?
07/02/2011 16:51:55

This Normal comment was left by Dave [score: 0]:

Redundancy payments up to 30,000 are tax free. The 30K is a one off so if the payment was spread over more than one year its still 30,000. The residue is just added to other income in the same tax year but no NI is payable. To avoid tax you can buy extra years on your pension but in recent times there have been limits on pensions for high earners.
07/02/2011 17:44:44

This Normal comment was left by Robster anon again! [score: 0]:

anon again!
I hope you don't mind me joining in!
I would like to see Margate Caves re-open. Ok, if it does take around 100,000 I guess it would be acceptable.
Why not?
If we have to pay ex-Councillors Tax free redundancy payments (benefit seekers), then we can afford this trivial sum.
27/02/2011 01:57:53
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