While Michael Fife makes good points about the failings of transparency and accountability in Okehampton Town Council he, along with many others may not appreciate the full scale of the problem.

On December 21 2021 the town council approved a precept of £313,086 for 2022/23 which would become its share of council tax demanded of Okehampton residents.

On January 30 2023, the town council approved a precept of £421,893 for 2023/24. This represents an increase of nearly 35% on the previous year or as the town council minutes coyly put it, an increase of 89p per week.

Meanwhile both Devon County and West Devon Borough had to confine themselves to a 4.99% increase in their share of the Council Tax.

Is it really good enough that one has to wait for the council tax bill to discover what the increase was? Can the town council offer a better explanation as to why, in the year we are struggling with a cost of living crisis and every penny counts, they chose to hike their precept by such an astronomical amount?

Surely a democratic body interested in openness and transparency would be more frank and candid about what the increase was and why it was needed?

All this begs another question that the town council may not wish to answer. Other than a substantial increase in council tax, what will the residents of those parts of the Hamlets that the town council wishes to annex see by way of benefits by being part of the town? Or is annexing part of the Hamlets just another sneaky way of filling the coffers?

Mark Slater