This isn’t a rubbish story, really. (Image: Shutterstock)
With the Chancellor’s axe about to fall heavily on local government spending, the Bureau reveals that Britain’s Town Halls pay 1,500 council chiefs more than the Prime Minister.
Local government is expected to bear the brunt of the cuts in the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) published in October and much of these will be forced through by the 2,000 local council bosses earning more than £100,000.
Early indications suggest local government will be responsible for 20 per cent of the goverment’s £6.2 billion spending cuts.
Authorities down south
Already local council chief executives are forcing through changes. Last week Birmingham City Council announced plans to introduce new contracts for its staff, containing new terms and conditions .
Nearly 26,000 of its workers could lose their jobs if they don’t agree to the changes. It’s part of the authority’s bid to cut spending by £300,000 by 2014. Its chief executive Stephen Hughes is among the top 50 highest paid council officials, earning £204,810.
Wandsworth Borough Council pays the most to its chief executive, Gerald Jones, who receives £299,925 including a £54,000 bonus. The council pays another 35 members of staff more than £100,000 costing it nearly £5m.
There are 71 councils that pay ten or more people over £100,000, with Sunderland and Liverpool paying three people each more than £200,000.
Liverpool Councilor Joe Anderson however points out: ‘We are talking about the city with £1 billion turnover, 10,000 people on its payroll…. Liverpool City Council is as big as one of the top 100 FTSE companies.’
But the highest paying councils are in the south, with English councils paying out the most for their Chief Executives – 17 out of the top 20 highest paying councils are located in the south.
The 79 highest paying councils, with over 80 per cent of the total £247 million wage bill being spent there.
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North of the border
Around 576,700 people are employed by the public sector in Scotland, that’s almost half of the workforce. Over the past year the Scottish parliament has employed a further 600 civil servants, while 200 people have joined quangos.
In addition, public sector pay has outstripped private sector pay by 7 per cent since the recession began, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
With over 30 years experience in local government North Lanarkshire Council Chief Executive Gavin Whitefield earns a salary of £148,109 including bonuses.
Earlier this month, the council announced plans to axe up to 1000 jobs to try to shave £55 million off its spending over the next two years.
Yet even as it made that announcement the council unveiled a £1.2million an art project – including a giant iron plug – aimed a regenerating the area.
Edward Leigh, the outgoing chairman of the public accounts committee (PAC), “When I started in politics the town clerk was the chief executive of the local authority,” he says.
“He probably only earned £14,000 a year … Now we pay these people £150,000 – why is that necessary? There are oceans of people in the private sector who have a public sector ethos and would be prepared to take a big cut.”
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