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So Much For Cuts: Charity Bosses and NHS Fat Cats Continue to Rake In Mammoth Salaries

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A charity boss has had her pay increased to a whopping £420,000 despite the homes her charity provides to vulnerable elderly people coming under criticism for being inadequate. At the same time, it has emerged that NHS bosses awarded themselves an extra £35 million in pay at a time when the NHS budget is being severely squeezed.

Jane Ashcroft, chief executive of Anchor Trust, is one of Britain’s top earning charity bosses, raking in a basic salary of £293,000, a bonus of £21,975, a £13,599 car allowance, a £3,742 “balancing payment” and £87,945 as a contribution to her pension this year. The average Anchor Trust employee takes home just £19,784 a year, according to the Times.

In addition, Ms Ashcroft earns £44,000 a year in return for just five days work as director of Dinity, a funeral company. She is also chairwoman of Care England, previously known as English Community Care Association.

Anchor Trust is Britain’s largest not-for-profit housing association providing homes for vulnerable elderly people. The registered charity has a turnover of £265 million a year, a “significant proportion” of which is taxpayer funded. It currently provides homes for 37,000 people in 93 care homes and 22,365 rented retirement properties at 667 locations, employing 8,400 staff.

But last year, 28.2 percent of it’s accommodation failed to comply with Care Quality Commission standards, according to the Trust’s own audits. Pamela Chesters, the chairwoman of Anchor Trust, said the charity had improved to 85.9 per cent complying with CQC standards by February, far outstripping the care homes sector as a whole. Half of the accommodation tested under the new rules was found to be inadequate or requiring improvement.

Mrs Chesters defended Mrs Ashcroft’s pay package, saying: “Anchor is a large and complex organisation working across a number of different sectors and competing successfully with commercial care providers. We involved all non-executives in remuneration issues and the chief executive’s remuneration is informed by independent assessments of the market rate.”

However, Bob Neill, vice-chairman of the Conservatives and a former local government minister, disagreed, saying: “It is an abuse of the positions of housing associations to reward someone with private sector levels of pay out of taxpayers’ money.”

Mr Neill said that William Shawcross, chairman of the Charity Commission, had been right when he warned that “disproportionate salaries” risked bringing the charity sector into “disrepute”.

“Here is a good example about why he is right to raise concerns. The Charity Commission ought to consider whether it is appropriate to see this level of reward in the charitable sector. Each case depends on its merits. It is absolutely not what the charity sector ought to be about,” he added.

Meanwhile, a Daily Mail investigation has uncovered profligate spending on NHS bosses salaries, prompting politicians to call for a full scale investigation into NHS pay. They found that nearly 1,000 bosses earn a six figure salary, once pension contributions are taken into account, and 50 bosses earn in excess of £400,000. Chief nurses are making up to £700,000 a year, despite nurses earning £26,000 on the front line being faced with cuts and frozen pay.

And the investigation revealed how some bosses use tax avoidance loopholes to channel their salaries through private companies, whilst others tap into schemes designed to help low paid health workers work part time during their retirement, to unlock early lump sum pension payouts.

Last year the average pay for a hospital chief executive was £189,000, fully 32 percent higher than the Prime Minister’s take home pay. Nearly £35 million extra was awarded to bosses in pay rises, despite the NHS facing a funding crisis of £8 billion.

Max Pemberton, a doctor working in the NHS has called the fat cats “scum” and accused them of incompetence. Describing how he has had to turn down patients in need of treatment in order to save the NHS money, and how nurses are forced to stay on past their shifts because wards are short staffed, he said “I have had enough of the scum that has floated to the top of the murky waters of NHS bureaucracy and which sits there, motionless, doing nothing of any value, while patients have to take the brunt of their incompetence and greed.

“But I want to be clear here: whatever politicians may say at election time, this isn’t about the NHS not having enough money. This is about how the money we do have is being spent, and the selfish contempt that too many Health Service bosses seem to have for staff and patients.”


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