Britain’s highest-paid council fatcats who have racked up six-figure sums as the country battles the rising cost of living have been revealed.
The local government’s annual ‘wealthy list’ from the Taxpayers’ Alliance found that at least 2,759 town hall employees earned more than £100,000 last year.
Of those, 721 received more than £150,000 – including 608 paid more than the £156,163 salary awarded to Rishi Sunak in 2021-22.
Generous pension premiums, bonuses and parting gifts were handed out, despite town halls insisting that rising inflation and extra demand for services necessitated increases in council tax.
Meanwhile, bills are rising 5.1 per cent this year, meaning costs for an average Band D property will top £2,000 for the first time, and inflation has topped 10 per cent since last summer.
The Taxpayers’ Alliance, which conducted the audit, questioned whether the fatcats offered value for money to hardened locals.
The highest paid employee was an unnamed managing director of Guildford Borough Council, who received £607,633, which included ‘severance pay’ of £154,240, benefits totaling £5,688 and pension contributions of £339,158. Despite local taxpayers footing the huge bill, the council refused to confirm his identity.
The TaxPayers’ Alliance’s annual local government ‘wealthy list’ found that at least 2,759 town hall employees earned more than £100,000 last year
The highest paid employee was an unnamed managing director at Guildford Borough Council. Second was Fiona Brown – Sunderland’s outgoing ‘executive director of neighbourhoods’ – who was paid a total of £573,550. Robert Steenson of North Lanarkshire, Sandy Hopkins of Southampton, Paul Najsarek of Ealing and an unknown Wyre Forest company director were next
A spokesperson said: ‘In the last financial year we made a one-off payment of £154,000 to the former managing director.
“The payment was a legal obligation and reflects more than 30 years of loyal service to our congregation.
“This payment was split equally with Waverley Borough Council in accordance with our partnership agreement.”
Second was Fiona Brown – Sunderland’s outgoing ‘executive director of neighbourhoods’ – who was paid a total of £573,550.
A spokesman said: ‘We continue to provide critical services during the cost of living crisis, including services to thousands of vulnerable adults and children, and are delivering hundreds of millions of pounds of investment that will make Sunderland a more dynamic, healthy and vibrant city. . This work carries great social and legal responsibilities and the remuneration of senior and ex-employees, including pensions and benefits where they have left after long service, can reflect this.”
The third highest paid was Robert Steenson, North Lanarkshire’s Executive Director for Business and Communities, who received £536,530, including compensation for the loss of his position. A spokesman for the council said: “Like any employee, the postholder is entitled to his pension benefits and dismissal if a position is dismissed.”
The fourth-largest pay package went to Sandy Hopkins, who was chief executive of Southampton City Council until last year. She received £406,403 including a payout of £188,239.
Donald Graham, Director of Housing and Landlord Services at Bristol City Council, was awarded £280,634. Daljit Lally, chief executive at Northumberland was next with £279,937, while an unnamed corporate director at Wyre Forest came in 9th. Stuart Love, from Westminster, was next, followed by Fran Beasley from Hillingdon and Niall Bolger from Hounslow
Fifth was Paul Najsarek, who stepped down as CEO of Ealing in 2021 with £325,047 including a payout of £94,859.
John O’Connell of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, who carried out the audit, said last night: ‘Taxpayers facing record increases in council taxes want to be sure they are getting value for money from their local authorities.
“Many authorities continue to provide extremely generous rewards and perks, including bonuses and gold parting gifts, while the local population faces financial straits. The bosses of the town hall must ensure that they add value to the residents, for example by getting staff back to their desks or selling unused offices.’
The campaign group’s annual local government ‘rich list’ found that at least 2,759 town hall employees earned more than £100,000 last year. Of those, 721 received more than £150,000 – including 608 paid more than the £156,163 salary awarded to Rishi Sunak in 2021-22.
The TaxPayers’ Alliance’s surveys of council offices showed that Westminster had an average occupancy rate of 50 per cent last autumn and 50 employees earning more than £100,000.
Stoke had the lowest occupancy rate in the country at just 7 per cent – and six staff were paid more than £100,000.
The local authority paying the highest amount in terms of bonuses and performance-related pay to a senior employee was Newcastle upon Tyne City Council, with their director of public health receiving a bonus of £36,192, the Taxpayers’ Alliance revealed.
The numbers come despite town hall bosses still allowing many of their staff to work from home.
Dozens are paid more than £100,000 a year in council offices where half the desks remain empty.
The Taxpayers’ Alliance claimed that, based on the percentage of local authorities not disclosing details of their well-paid employees, it was “reasonable to conclude that the probable total of employees earning more than £100,000 would be 3,126 and 818 more than £100,000.” 150,000′.
Cost of living could FINALLY ease for millions of hard-hit Britons – as inflation is expected to fall below 10% for the first time since August
by MILO POPE for MailOnline
According to a consensus of economists, inflation is expected to fall below 10 percent for the first time since last August.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) will show consumer price index (CPI) inflation fell to 9.8 percent last month when the latest official figures are released on Wednesday.
This comes after it was claimed that the average British household is alone midway through a two-year cost-of-living crisisaccording to a financial report.
It would be a return to inflation starting to ease after a shock jump to 10.4 percent in February on rising food prices.
Vegetable shortages pushed prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages up 18 percent year-on-year, the strongest increase in more than 45 years.
February saw a shock increase to 10.4% in inflation due to rising food prices
Households are still expected to come under pressure in the coming months, but the government and Bank of England policymakers are keen to see a return to the expected pattern of cooling prices.
“Following the significant upside surprise in February data, we expect significant easing to have taken place in March,” economists at Investec said.
They said any drop would be driven largely by lower gasoline prices as demand continues to recover globally, especially given that the new data will be compared to March 2022, when prices shot higher after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Investec also added that “supply chain disruptions and reduced shipping costs” could also lead to falling commodity prices for the month.
Sanjay Raja, senior economist at Deutsche Bank, added that a “reversal of very strong clothing inflation” could also help broader inflation to fall again.
A sharp fall in inflation could help mortgage borrowers, as it increases the likelihood that the Bank of England will soon halt rate hikes.
The rise in base rates has pushed up mortgage rates, leaving those who need to re-mortgage with bills potentially hundreds of pounds a month higher.
The Bank’s rate setters hope that the sharp increase in the base rate, from 0.1 percent to 4.25 percent over the course of just over a year, will result in a sharp fall in inflation.
At the bank’s last meeting last month, it said there were signs inflation was peaking.
Despite this, interest rates were raised by 0.25 percentage point to a 14-year high of 4.25 percent. The Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee is expected to rise one more time to a peak of 4.5 percent.
> When will interest rates start to fall? Latest forecasts and analysis
The inflation update comes a day after the ONS revealed that regular wages excluding bonuses rose 6.6 percent in the three months to February, but fell 3.4 percent when CPI is taken into account.