Conservative Party Chairman Eric Pickles has criticised the pay of some Council Chief Executives as unreasonably high. "I'm not entirely sure that paying a quarter of a million pounds for a chief executive of a large local authority is justified," he says in an interview for The Independent. "To a degree, they are being paid like football managers. In a time when members have executive responsibilities, I'm not entirely sure that can be justified."
In a leader The Independent suggest these comments contradict the Conservative belief in localism. It says Pickles "tells this newspaper that a future Conservative Government intends to put a stop to Council leaders being 'paid like football managers.' " But he didn't – at least not in the comments the paper attributes to him. He made pretty clear he thought the pay for some of them was too high. It doesn't follow that a ban from Whitehall would be proposed. Pickles is entitled to express an opinion.
The paper goes on to say that as salary levels are in the public domain council taxpayers "in Newham, in east London, in Suffolk County Council and Kingston-upon-Hull can now decide for themselves whether they want their chief executives remunerated to the tune of £200,000-plus." Quite right. But it doesn't do any harm that residents in those areas have been given a nudge by Pickles.