Local government leaders have defended the generous remuneration packages paid to a minority of council employees on the basis that they are decided upon in an ‘open and transparent’ manner.
The TaxPayers’ Alliance, a right-wing libertarian think tank, has published its twelfth annual Town Hall Rich List, which provides a council-by-council breakdown of employees who earn over £100,000.
According to the list, there were at least 2,454 council employees who received total remuneration in excess of £100,000 – 148 more than in 2016-17.
A little over 600 council employees earned over £150,000 and a total of 28 local authority employees received remuneration in excess of a quarter of a million pounds in 2017-18.
The local authority with the greatest number of employees receiving remuneration in excess of £100,000 was Essex council with 55 employees in total earning over this amount.
Essex also had the highest number of employees (13) earning over £150,000.
‘Many senior managers at local authorities have performed well in tough financial times. There are many reports of residents seeing no difference in the services they receive despite the necessary savings being made,’ said a statement from the think tank.
‘However, the Town Hall Rich List also showcases the executives who have overseen failing departments, or received bumper pay-offs after poor performance in the job.’
Responding to the research, a Local Government Association spokesperson said: ‘Councils are large, complex organisations with sizable budgets and responsibility for more than 1,300 different statutory duties and responsibilities that make a huge difference to people’s lives. It is important that the right people with the right skills and experience are retained to deliver this important work.
‘Senior pay is always decided by democratically elected councillors in an open and transparent way.’
‘County councils are the largest councils in the country, providing services to 26 million residents across 86% of England’s landmass,’ said a spokesperson for the County Councils Network.
‘These authorities oversee the largest budgets in local government and are responsible for providing large, complex services, many of which are to the most vulnerable in our society, such as adult and children’s social care.
‘They are also responsible for strategic services, such as transport, highways and infrastructure, which help drive our national economy and keep Britain moving.
‘Given the importance of the services these councils provide, they need to be able to attract the right people, with the right skills. Levels of senior pay are decided by democratically elected politicians in an open and transparent manner.’