Top council salaries ‘raise serious questions’ say TaxPayers Alliance

Falling income

A report by the TaxPayers Alliance has revealed that the number of local authority employees receiving £100,000 or more in the 2017/18 tax year has risen to the highest level since 2013.

For Kent there are 24 employees receiving over £100,000, with former Folkestone and Hythe chief executive Alistair Stewart making the top 20 table with an eyewatering renumeration of £333,493 followed by a severance compensation package of £179,196.

Across the country In 2017-18 there were at least 2,441 council employees who received total remuneration in excess of £100,000.

For Thanet the TPA Town Hall Rich List data, which was published by The Isle of Thanet News last year, and can be seen in Thanet council’s statement of accounts, shows:

Chief Executive Madeline Homer received a salary of £133,771 plus ‘other’ of £5,000, pension contributions of £20,966 making a total of £159,737.

Rob Kenyon

Former Director of Community Services Rob Kenyon, who took voluntary redundancy in October 2017, is listed as having had a salary of £80,401 plus a severance payment of £39,533, £2000 listed as other and pension payments of £7169 totalling £129,103.

The Director of East Kent Services Dominic Whelan received a salary of £106,670 plus £4,500 ‘other’ and £13,727 pension payments equalling £124,897.

Director of Corporate Resources Tim Willis received a salary of  £98,245 plus £4,000 ‘cash benefits’ totalling £102,245 not including pension contributions of £15,156.

Director of Corporate Governance Tim Howes received £97,173 plus ‘cash benefits’ of 4,000 totalling £101,173 plus pension contributions of £15,156.

Director of Operational Services Gavin Waite received £90,648 plus ‘cash benefits’ of £4,000 totalling £94,648 plus pension contributions of £14,225.

The total top officers’ salary bill for 2017/18, excluding pension payments but including Mr Kenyon’s compensation, came to £558, 771.

Councillor allowances for the year came to £365,000.

Details of the 2018/19 expenditure are yet to be published but Thanet council posts its statement of accounts, with financial data, annually.

‘Disappointing’

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:“The average council tax bill has gone up by more than £900 over the last twenty years and spending has gone through the roof. Disappointingly, many local authorities are now responding to financial reality through further tax rises and reducing services rather than scaling back top pay. Despite many in the public sector facing a much-needed pay freeze to help bring the public finances under control, many town hall bosses are continuing to pocket huge remuneration packages, with staggering pay-outs for those leaving their jobs.

“There are talented people in the public sector who are trying to deliver more for less, but the sheer scale of these packages raise serious questions about efficiency and priorities.”

Redundancies

There were 28 staff earning between £50,000 and £124,000 at the authority in 2017/18. Five of those staff left during the financial year.

There were 8 compulsory redundancies in the financial period across all staff at TDC with 7 other departures.

Some £339,000 was paid out in redundancy packages.

Thanet council employed 475 staff, full time and part time, when its draft accounts were completed in May last year.

This year there are at least seven job roles currently at risk in coastal/tourism and operational services areas, including the post of Thanet Coastal Warden officer Tony Child. The aim is to make £250,000 ‘efficiency’ savings.

A petition has been raised to ask Thanet council to retain Tony’s post.

Find the petition here

12 Comments

  1. Why complain about high earnings for Council Officers when they are just doing what private sector bosses do all the time? In private businesses , the senior executives have been getting bigger and bigger pay rises without any apparent objections. In fact, despite the 2008 Bank crash indicating their incompetence, Bank executives are still getting big bonuses and pay rises. If queried, they insist that such eye-watering amounts are justified by the “talents” of the company bosses.
    It seems to be the fashion for bold business types to take over failing High Street concerns, close them down , throwing thousands out of work and with their Pension funds depleted, but, being the ones at the top, they walk away with handsome pay-outs.
    So why pick on the same type of people at the top of Council administrations? And why insist that the Councils would be better run by “businessmen” when all the evidence suggests that UK businesses are closing by the dozen every week?
    I would not trust whatever the “Taxpayers Alliance” comes out with.The name suggests that it is a movement of people. In fact it consists of two men and a dog who are kept going with donations from well-paid businessmen who support their arguments in favour of lower taxes for …you guessed it…well paid businessmen!

  2. I think it is reasonable to comment about executive pay, but it must be even handed and factual.I am no fan of Thanet District Council, in fact some might say I am a long term sceptic of all things TDC, but the only reason the TPA can bring forth these stories, is because TDC publish their executive salaries.
    The TPA is most secretive about its funding and activities, which include climate change denial and all the other neo con footwear, so if one is going to throw stones, one must not live within two crystal palaces, as they do.
    If we look at the Transport operating companies who hold rail franchises their remuneration for example, really is eye watering.
    Someone has to be CEO and carry the can and that costs money.
    Rather than be diverted by being angry about certain individuals being rewarded however handsomely, one should instead look at a failing system and ask is the best we can do?
    Many of the principal councils are lead by ‘Businessmen'(note not women) and therefore the TPA is rather off beam.

    • To be fair we published these figures last year and they are from Thanet council’s statement of accounts. TDC publish the accounts every year, as we point out, although the salaries are relevant with the number of cuts currently proposed to certain TDC departments

  3. no matter what anyone earns on the council-its to much, they cannot keep our bus services running efficiently,cannot clean our roads and drains and thay close our toilets vote to get our councillors out and change the format and get rid of these highly paid managements

    • Totally agree. While all of us minions in Thanet are lucky to earn 12,000-15,000 a year. What is given back to us. Nothing…My road has not been cleaned for over 3 years.. the gutters are lovely black sludge.

  4. No austerity for the top 1 per cent, if elected to TDS I will call for a freeze for these overpaid officers. I personally refused to take the pay rise the Tory Kent County Council gave out, that 15 percent rise they gave I passed on to the people of Thanet.

  5. Almost 4 years ago the Government stated that they would look into the public sector pay and six figure payoffs. After years of procrastinating the Treasury have finally decided to launch a consultation on how to implement a promised £95,000 ceiling on public sector redundancy payments.It is hoped that they will also look into salaries and benefits.

    There is a difference between the private sector and the public sector. Within the private sector shareholders can and sometimes do vote as to any possible increase in salaries and bonuses. These increases arise from profits more often than not. Within the public sector it is our money that is being used and we as the general public have no say no matter if the relevant person or department is successful or not.

  6. And your ‘normal’ Councillor receives £400 a Month before Tax. Leaders get around £15000. If you are on a Committee, or not, Cabinet get a little extra.

    • Not all on committees get extra money -only those with a specific role like Chair or vice-Chair since they have extra responsibilities.

  7. “Serious questions” need to be raised about The Tax Payers’ Alliance, according to Wikipedia.
    This is part of what they say:
    “An investigation by Tim Horton, research director of the left-wing Fabian Society, claimed the group is “fundamental to the Conservatives’ political strategy”, which he said was to destroy public confidence in politicians’ ability to deliver public services, thereby paving the way for cuts.[11] “There is something deeply dishonest about their campaigns on government waste,” he said. “Their aim isn’t to make public spending work better, but to slash it dramatically. Yet none of them will campaign on their true vision of society: fewer public services. At least Thatcher was honest about the deal: less ‘public’ means you go private.”[11]”

  8. There’s more:
    “In 2018, the TaxPayers’ Alliance conceded that it illegally vilified and sacked the whistleblower Shahmir Sanni, on the BBC and on the website “Brexit Central”, for revealing unlawful overspending in the Brexit referendum campaign. Elliott had called Sanni a “Walter Mitty fantasist” and claimed that Sanni was guilty of “completely lying”. The Alliance also did not contest the statement that they are responsible for Elliott’s Brexit Central website and that they coordinated their actions with Downing Street and with nine “linked” rightwing “thinktanks” that operate in and around offices at 55 Tufton Street in Westminster. The network includes the Adam Smith Institute, the Centre for Policy Studies, the Institute of Economic Affairs and Leave Means Leave. A barrister commented that “It is incredibly unusual for a respondent to make a complete concession on liability as the respondent has here. To wave a white flag to avoid disclosing documents and giving evidence in court is really unusual. They conceded everything. How does an ostensibly private company come to be working with Downing Street? What is their relationship? Who are their funders?””
    The TPA sounds well dodgy.

Comments are closed.