We all have to pay our way in life and there is nothing more certain than taxes. I don’t mind having to pay tax. After all it’s meant to be my contribution to the communal pot. Since I started work with British Steel in 1971 I have never failed to pay any tax of any kind. I was starkly reminded of my tax obligations this week when my council tax bill dropped through the letter box. A total of £1415. A paltry amount of £193 will go towards law and order, an increase of only £15 in the last three years. A meagre £176 (reduced by £2 in the last three years) will go to Corby borough, and a ridiculously laughable sum of £18 (reduced, yes reduced by £2 in the last three years) will be allotted to my parish council. The overspending county council will get a walloping £1028 (an increase of £459 in the past three years) of my hard earned cash. Now, without wishing to sound like ‘a grumpy old man’ can anyone explain to me why it is that the road surfaces in and around the borough of Corby are in such a dreadful state of repair? Here’s another one. Why are we so surprised that there are fewer police officers on the beat than perhaps we should like? Might I dare to suggest that the answer to the first can be summed up in one word: subsidy. The re-direction of county cash to pay for underfunded essential services and resources. It must be, otherwise our roads would be a genuine pleasure to drive on. I think the answer to the second question can be summed up with another question: what do you expect for £176 per year? That would hardly pay for one police dog to be housed and fed. I should like to congratulate Corby borough council by asking them a question: how in God’s name do you ever manage to operate with only £176 of my total tax bill? I might ask the same of Northamptonshire police and other emergency services. Of course, one cannot refuse to pay ones council tax unless one has considered the pro’s and cons of prison food. Yet I would prefer to see more for my money. Anyway it’s time for me to drive to work with the added daily frustration of dodging the potholes and dramatically undulating, uneven road surfaces. I was once told by a county official that it needs more than one person to complain before a pothole can be dealt with or any form of compensation considered. But what if you are the first poor individual whose suspension or tyres require replacing because, through no fault of your own, you inadvertently thumped down into a dreaded pothole? Remember too, if you ride a motorcycle this could be fatal. Still, no use in complaining. No one listens, do they?