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Council chiefs 'paid over £100,000'
More than 3,000 senior council executives pocketed pay and perks packages in excess of £100,000, new research has claimed.
The Taxpayers' Alliance (TPA) study revealed 3,097 town hall employees were awarded deals worth six figure sums in 2010-11, a hike of 13% on the previous year. It also found 658 staff earned between £150,000 and £249,999, while 52 broke the £250,000 mark.
The TPA said some of the packages included redundancy payments but insisted that did not "wholly account" for the increase in high payouts.
Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TPA, 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. 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."
Top of the Rich List when redundancy packages were excluded was Geoff Alltimes, then chief executive of Hammersmith and Fulham Council on £281,666. Mr Alltimes no longer works for the council, which now shares the position of chief executive with another London council.
A Hammersmith and Fulham Council spokesman said its pursuit of value for money was "relentless" and sharing a chief executive with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea was saving taxpayers £200,000 a year.
The TPA said it based its report on local authorities' 2010-11 annual statement of accounts and where salary bands were provided it used the midpoint.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: "It proves there is significant scope to save taxpayers' money by tackling the culture of dodgy pay deals and boomerang bosses that was the norm under Labour."
A Local Government Association spokesman said: "We share the TPA's belief in transparency and accountability, which is why senior council staff do not set their own salaries. They are set by politically proportionate committees of elected councillors. As a result, they are open to a high level of scrutiny and democratic accountability."
Shadow communities secretary Hilary Benn said: "This is a major embarrassment for David Cameron and Eric Pickles. Yet again, it is Conservative councils who are failing the test on value for money that the Tory leadership have set. Nine out of 10 of the top town hall earners are employed by Tory councils. They need to get their own house in order before pointing the finger at other parties."