Local council bosses are being paid up to half a million pounds a year, salaries more than three times that of the Prime Minister, according to the annual town hall rich list.
The report by the Taxpayer’s Alliance found that 2,440 council bosses are paid more than £100,000 a year — this means on average, each of the 408 local authorities in the country has six staff being paid these high sums.
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Essex council is an example of this profligacy, having 55 employees earning over £100,000 and 13 employees earning over £150,000.
Among other key findings of the 12th annual Town Hall Rich List were that a total of 28 local authorities had employees being paid figures in excess of a quarter of a million pounds each. The council with the highest rate of total remuneration for a chief executive was Slough council, which paid its own top officer £595,077 in a single year.
These figures do not count expenses paid to council officers on top of their salaries, however. The biggest spender was Basildon council, which paid out over £125,000 in expenses to senior staff. This makes up a large proportion of the more than £1.1 million spent in expenses for council staff across the UK with the greatest individual expenses being paid to the acting Chief Executive of Caerphilly council, who received over £132,000 in expenses alone.
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The figures come as the Taxpayers Alliance celebrate their part in having secured an end to so-called government ‘golden handshakes’, vast remunerations for retiring public sector staff. The rule change, which the Alliance has campaigned for, sees a cap of £95,000 placed on retirement packages for civil servants and council workers.
Head of the Taxpayers Alliance John O’Connell told Westminster political blog Guido Fawkes of the change: “Senior bureaucrats are already rewarded with pension schemes that ordinary Brits could only dream of, so it’s only fair to place a cap on exit payments.
“Bar some understandable exemptions for soldiers and spies, golden goodbyes will finally come to an end. The average council tax bill has gone up by more than £900 and the tax burden is at a 49-year high, so this announcement is an important step in the right direction.”
The cap has been a long time coming. Former Chancellor George Osborne initially promised it in 2015 but failed to deliver. Osborne previously said he would introduce measures to ensure the public did not have to “fork out for golden parachutes”.