Almost 30,000 town hall pen-pushers who earn more than 50,000 when councils are cutting front line services


Almost 30,000 town hall pen-pushers earn more than 50,000 when councils are cutting front line services118 councils have increased staff on 50,000 salariesLabour-run Birmingham City Council has 648 staff on the high-end wage
Six of ten worst offending councils are Conservative-run authorities

By
Daniel Martin, Whitehall Correspondent

PUBLISHED:

01:20 GMT, 20 February 2013

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UPDATED:

03:03 GMT, 20 February 2013

Almost 30,000 council pen-pushers now earn more than 50,000 a year.

Taxpayers fork out 1.9billion a year on the high salaries, at a time when town halls are cutting frontline services and blaming the Government’s cuts.

Despite the age of austerity, 118 councils have actually increased the number of staff taking home more than 50,000.

Birmingham City Council - the largest authority in England - had the largest increase in the number of staff on more than 50,000 salaries

Birmingham City Council – the largest authority in England – had the largest increase in the number of staff on more than 50,000 salaries

Last night, the Tories said the figures, from a report by the Taxpayers’ Alliance, showed there was plenty of scope for councils to make savings without hitting services for the vulnerable.

But of the ten councils with the greatest number of staff on the high salaries, six are Tory controlled, according to the report.

It shows at least 28,754 local authority staff received more than 50,000 in 2011/12.

This cost around 1.9billion – slightly down on the year before due to a large number of redundancy payments in 2010/11. And at least 183 local government officers earned more than the head of MI5’s salary of 155,000.

The report shows that the number of council staff on more than 50,000 had increased more than three times as quickly as in the private sector.

While 266 local authorities responded to reduced government funding by cutting spending on the 50,000-plus salaries, a total of 118 actually increased the number.

MP Brandon Lewis slammed councils who were increasing the number of staff on 50,000 salaries while cutting frontline services

MP Brandon Lewis slammed councils who were increasing the number of staff on 50,000 salaries while cutting frontline services

Labour-controlled Birmingham council increased the number of staff earning at this level, at a cost of some 5million extra.

This is the highest increase among all councils. Birmingham, the largest local authority in the UK, also has by far the most staff earning above this level – 648.

The six Tory-controlled councils in the top ten are Kent (491 staff), Surrey (444), Essex (434), East Sussex (409), Cheshire West and Chester (382) and Hampshire (366). The others are Labour Leicester (459) and Leeds (365), plus a Labour / SNP coalition in Edinburgh (390).

The council with the largest drop in the number of staff taking home more than 50,000 was Labour-controlled Manchester, where the figure fell by 410.

London had the most staff earning more than 50,000 per head of population, with 9.6 per 10,000 – against just 4.3 in the East Midlands.

Matthew Sinclair of the Taxpayers’ Alliance said: 'It is incredible that some councils have even increased spending on high-earning staff this year after a decade in which council tax doubled and when every local authority needs to find savings.

'Councillors need to insist their local authority does more to find savings and cut back on staff costs residents cannot afford.'

Local government minister Brandon Lewis, a Conservative, said: ‘For too long the local government pay bill has spiralled up and up and taxpayers have been left footing the bill.

‘While I commend those councils taking action, there are still many others failing to get a grip on costs.’

A spokesman for the Local Government Association said: ‘Middle and senior managers make up around 1 per cent of the total local government workforce, which compares favourably with practices elsewhere in the public and private sectors.

‘Councils provide more than 700 local services. We need good managers to make sure those jobs are done well.’

– Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles last night unveiled new rules for local authorities in which redundancy pay-offs of 100,000 or more can go ahead only after a vote by councillors.