Fernhurst councillor and council leader wins pin-up title

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Leader of Chichester District Council Heather Caird, who represents Fernhurst, has been given the title of Pin-Up of the Month – by the TaxPayers’ Alliance.

She was awarded the title for ‘fully funding pension liabilities, unlike any other local authority in Britain’.

The title is awarded monthly by the Alliance to celebrate those in power who have sought to do the right – and wrong – thing by the taxpayer.

The man, woman or organisation to be congratulated for saving public money or acting in the interests of the hard-pressed taxpayer is honoured as the TPA’s Pin-Up of the Month, while whoever is found to have shown the greatest disregard for taxpayers’ cash or their interests is shamed as the TPA’s Pinhead of the Month.

Earlier this month the TaxPayers’ Alliance revealed a combined pension deficit of £54 billion for local councils across the UK with the average assets to liabilities ratio equalling only 70 per cent.

There was in fact just one local authority whose assets represented 100 per cent of its liabilities – and that was Chichester District Council.

Council leader Heather Caird was bestowed with the Pin-Up title as a tribute to ‘the sound financial stewardship of Cllr Caird and her colleagues’.

Meanwhile the TPA’s Pinhead of the Month is Cllr Peter Martin, the leader of Essex County Council, who has in the last week attacked the use of Freedom of Information requests by one of his local newspapers.

An Alliance spokesperson said: “The TPA has always believed in maximum transparency about how those in power spend taxpayers’ cash and the ability of campaigners and journalists or indeed any member of the public to use FoI requests to get that information must never be constrained. It should be a matter of considerable concern that a senior civic leader is casting aspersions on the value of FoI legislation.”

Jonathan Isaby, political director of the TPA said: “We have always believed that as well as making examples of those who have shown a disregard for public money it is important to recognise those who have tried to do the right thing by taxpayers.

“When we published our research comparing the pension assets and liabilities of every UK local council people were understandably shocked to learn there remains an overall national deficit of £54 billion.

“But of those 434 authorities one local council stood out for being able to equate its liabilities with its assets.

“It is therefore right that we should salute council leader Heather Caird for the authority’s sound and prudent approach ensuring that there is at least no black hole in their part of the country.”