Politics Number of council bosses on more than £100,000 is...

Number of council bosses on more than £100,000 is highest in almost a decade

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The number of town hall bosses on more than £100,000 is the highest in nearly a decade, with the news coming as council tax rates soar.

A total of 3,106 council staff received six-figure salaries – up 347 in just one year – according to analysis by the TaxPayers’ Alliance.

The figures emerged after council tax rose by more than five per cent at the start of the month, with some households paying £5,000 a year for the first time.

It comes as local authorities make deep cuts to services, and after a string of councils declared effective bankruptcy. More are expected to follow.

The highest-remunerated staff member identified in the analysis was a departing official from Hampshire council, which has warned that it may go effectively bankrupt this year and has announced cuts to museums, waste tips and services for the homeless.

Greenwich council, in London, has announced plans to cut street cleaning and get rid of lollipop ladies, despite having the second-highest number of staff on more than £100,000.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader, said: “Instead of cutting youth services, as always seems to happen, these councils should review the inflated salaries of so many officials and start there.”

John O’Connell, the chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “The new financial year has seen council tax soar across the country, and taxpayers will notice that top brass pay has simultaneously surged.

“Local authorities provide crucial services, and residents will want to make sure they are getting bang for their buck with their ever-increasing bills.

“Residents can use these figures to ask whether precious funds are really going towards frontline services, or whether town hall bosses can get better value for money.”

Council tax has soared across England this year, with the average Band D bill hitting £2,171 – an extra £106 a year. This increases to £4,342 in the most expensive Band H homes. In four authorities, typical bills now exceed £2,500, or £5,000 for Band H.

Last year, dozens of town halls were forced to bring in service cuts, such as making bin collections fortnightly or dimming streetlights.

Others – notably Birmingham – have had to declare effective bankruptcy by issuing a section 114 notice.

The number of council staff on more than £100,000 in 2022-23 was the highest since 2013-14. Of these 3,106 people, 829 received at least £150,000 – 108 more than the previous year. At least 175 received more than £200,000.

Some 59 councils did not provide accounts in 2022-23, and the TaxPayers’ Alliance estimates that the number of staff on more than £100,000 could therefore be as high as 3,637.

In 2013-14, 3,483 council staff were on six-figure salaries, although the alliance noted that more councils then provided it with their accounts.

The highest-remunerated council employee last year was Felicity Roe, the former director of culture, community and business services at Hampshire council, who received £651,158 including salary, a loss of office payment and a one-off pension payment.

The second most highly remunerated was John Metcalfe, who departed as chief executive of Cumbria when his council was abolished. He received £586,134.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance list shows that the local authority with the most employees receiving at least £100,000 in total remuneration was Westminster, in central London, with 60 staff – 10 more than the previous year.

Next came Greenwich, with 47, and Southwark with 46. The highest outside the capital were Essex, with 45, and Glasgow with 42. Glasgow has the most people earning more than £100,000 in Scotland, despite planning to cut 450 teacher jobs over the next decade.

Kent council, where there are more staff on £100,000 than anywhere else in the south-east except London, will start charging for post-16-year-olds’ special educational needs school transport.

Northumberland has put up its council charges and annual garden waste collection fees, despite having more staff on £100,000 than any other council in the north-east.

A spokesman for Hampshire council said: “The total remuneration allocated to Ms Roe, in Hampshire county council’s statement of accounts 2022-23, details both the salary (including allowances) she received up until Dec 31 2022, the compensation for loss of office she received when she left the local authority’s employment following a restructure, as well as a pension contribution that was made to the Hampshire pension fund and was not a payment made directly to Ms Roe.

“This pension contribution recognises that, when an employee is made redundant, in certain circumstances there is an entitlement for early release of pension. Ms Roe’s post was deleted as part of the restructure.”

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