IN your February 9 issue of the “Courier”, Cllr Frank Letch was bemoaning the fact that Devon County Council members' annual "Locality Fund" is to be reduced to £5,000 per individual. I would say about time too.

I have long thought that the democratic process was being badly skewed by allowing sitting councillors, of whatever political persuasion, to dispense with taxpayers' money almost as if it was their own. In fact I am astounded that it is legal.

When one stands for election at whatever level, you risk being hauled over the coals if you as much as buy a prospective voter a coffee.

Yet this Locality Fund scheme means that, immediately you are elected, large grants of public money can be dispensed at said member's discretion, no questions asked.

Apart from anything else, this puts any aspiring councillor at a huge disadvantage at future elections.

You might argue that local members know best where money is needed.

Agreed, but a far fairer way would be to give said money to the local Council, with conditions attached as necessary.

Bob Edwards (former District and Town councillor)