A new survey by the Taxpayers Alliance reports that there were 3,097 council staff who earned over £100,000 in 2010-11. This was up 13% on 2009-10. The report is timed to increase accountability as many voters go to the polls next week. For instance Labour's chances of wommomg in Glasgow will not be helped by the following point:
The largest remuneration package in Scotland in 2010-11, excluding any redundancy payments, was received by George Black, Chief Executive of Glasgow City Council who received £217,419, the same as the previous year. Glasgow also had the highest number of employees at a Scottish local authority with remuneration exceeding £100,000 in 2010-11 with 25.
The transparency revolution has meant the TPA has been able to compile the information from looking at the Council's website rather than dragging out the information via Freedom of Information requests.
Some will see the trend as a snub to Eric Pickles. But a better indication will be the 2011-12 figures when they become available. My own council will see costs going down as we are sharing the salaries of senior executives with neighbouring boroughs. Boris Johnson has abolished the post of Chief Executive at the GLA. Also some of the remuneration listed is redundancy pay.
On the other hand you could argue the 3,097 figure is an underestimate. "There were 1,146 council employees whose total remuneration was between £90,000 and £99,999 excluding pension contributions," says the report. "Even taking the minimum employer contribution level on the Local Government Pension Scheme of 14 per cent, an employee receiving a salary of £90,000 would receive a minimum pension contribution of £12,600, and therefore a total remuneration in excess of £100,000."
Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:
"Taxpayers will be astonished that so many council employees are still getting such a generous deal while everyone else in the public sector is facing a pay freeze. As millions of voters across the country prepare for local council elections, it is vital that they can make an informed choice about which local authorities are delivering value for money.
"The Town Hall Rich List shows that while councils insist cuts can only mean pressure on frontline services, some clearly have cash in the bank when it comes to paying their own senior staff. These council executives must ensure they have the moral authority to lead necessary spending cuts, in many cases that will mean taking a pay cut themselves. Households have seen their Council Tax bills double over the last decade and deserve better value."