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Annual Town Hall Rich List reveals pay deals of council executives across Suffolk

The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) has called for Council Tax to be frozen and local authority spending to be focused on frontline health and social care services as it releases its annual Town Hall Rich List.

The list includes a council-by-council breakdown of local government executive pay deals. It reveals that in 2018-19 there were at least 2,667 council employees nationally who received remuneration in excess of £100,000.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council (the list pre-dates the authority’s merger with Forest Heath District Council) had four employees with pay deals worth more than £100,000: its chief executive’s deal was £165,270; two directors had packages worth £115,387 and £112,817 respectively; while its assistant director of operations’ pay deal was £102,907.

John O'Connel, TaxPayers' Alliance. Picture by RAHIL AHMAD RAHIL@RAHIL.CO.UK (33563185)
John O'Connel, TaxPayers' Alliance. Picture by RAHIL AHMAD RAHIL@RAHIL.CO.UK (33563185)

A spokesman for West Suffolk Council said the authority did not wish to comment.

Babergh’s joint chief executive (with Mid Suffolk District Council) had a package totalling £146,330, while the authority’s interim strategic director’s deal was worth £114,573. In Mid Suffolk, the strategic director’s package was £111,411 while the assistant director corporate resources’ pay deal was £102,905.

A spokeswoman for Babergh and Mid Suffolk said the councils shared their workforces, meaning each council paid 50 per cent of all salaries to deliver 'significant savings'.

“Our salaries are based on market forces, ensuring we have the right people in post to best serve all our communities,” she added.

Breckland District Council reported wage packages of £155,899 for its chief executive, £119,000 for executive director strategy and governance, £113,892 for executive director place and £112,303 for executive director commercialisation.

A Breckland Council spokesperson said: “The council shares its senior management team – including the chief executive and Directors – with a council in Lincolnshire, which means salary costs are split between the two organisations.

"For example, Breckland pays just 60 per cent of the chief executive’s overall salary. Since this shared management approach was adopted in 2011/12, we have saved around £9m of taxpayers’ money.

“As a result of this prudent financial management and planning, Breckland remains in a strong financial position and the rate of district council tax charged in Breckland is the lowest in the country.

"In our recently-agreed budget the council announced further service investments, including more than £1m for initiatives to support our most vulnerable residents, such as older people who are at risk of social isolation, people experiencing poor mental health or domestic abuse, and tackling drug and child exploitation."

Meanwhile, Suffolk County Council had 13 employees with packages of more than £100,000: ranging from the chief executive’s £188,530 to £101,589 for the head of finance. Together, the 13 pay deals totalled nearly £1.75 million.

Cllr Matthew Hicks, leader of Suffolk County Council, said: “In order to ensure we continue to attract and retain the best possible staff to support residents and deliver our highly rated range of services, we must maintain a level of senior management who are highly skilled and experienced. This does mean we need to offer a competitive salary. I am confident we have found the right balance in Suffolk to do this while we continue to deliver value for money.”

The Town Hall Rich List report said Forest Heath District Council either did not publish its data in time, did not have any employees earning enough to qualify or shared staff.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “The country needs every council to cut waste and prioritise key services without resorting to punishing tax hikes.”

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