Increase in high salaries at council

Northumberland County Councils headquarters. The number of officers earning more than �100,000 was 11 in 2015/16, six more than in 2014/15.
Northumberland County Councils headquarters. The number of officers earning more than �100,000 was 11 in 2015/16, six more than in 2014/15.

Northumberland County Council has defended its salary payments for senior officers in response to figures from the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA).

The group has gone through data for local authorities across the UK and its tables include the number of employees who received in excess of £100,000.

For the Northumberland council, it had five such employees in the 2014/15 financial year and 11 in 2015/16. This meant it was 10th in the table of local authorities that had the largest increase in employees who received more than £100,000.

A county council spokesman said: “While the TPA figures may show an increase in the number of senior officers at this level, we still have a low number when compared to the majority of other councils in the UK.

“The remit for senior officers is extremely wide – leading a council which covers one of the largest geographic areas in the UK, employs more than 10,000 staff and has an annual revenue budget of over £680million.

“It is our firm belief that we should pay the correct rate for the job and we are completely transparent about senior officers salaries.

“The salary levels paid are in line with those of other similar councils and we also have some senior officer posts which are jointly funded by the council and the NHS.”

Across the UK, at least 2,314 council employees received total remuneration in excess of £100,000 in 2015-16. This is 89 more than the previous year.

TPA chief executive John O’Connell said: “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.

“The scale of these packages raises serious questions about efficiency and priorities.”