I’m sorry Phil Shepherdson (Letters, March 3) feels that City of York Council is hiking council tax to ‘slap its citizens in the face’. In reality the city’s council tax levels remain just below average for unitary authorities. Nor is the increase excessive: nearly all councils in England approved similar rises.

Mr Shepherdson is evidently worried that, in York’s case, the recent departure of the CEO after a long period of absence through ill health means that other staff will want to cut short their careers so they can get a generous payout, for which monies for frontline services will have to be plundered.

This, as Quentin Macdonald politely pointed out, is simply not true. The CEO’s health and personal circumstances are not within the council’s control and, like any other employer, it is obliged to make a severance payment commensurate with her senior position. This it has done. The money did not come from the council’s operating account and will therefore result neither in cuts to services nor increased council tax. All councils have money set aside for such contingencies.

There may be a separate debate to be had about the remuneration of council officers generally but that question should be addressed to the LGA or the secretary of state, Robert Jenrick MP.

Richard Brown,

Copmanthorpe, York