Headlines: December 18th, 2014

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has called on councils to be more open about top earners and prove to taxpayers they are getting value for money.

Councils have shown pay restraint in top salaries and the vast of councils have reduced the number of town hall staff on high salaries. However, latest figures for the UK suggest more than 2,000 town hall staff were still taking home more than £100,000 a year.

The coalition government has already changed the law to provide greater transparency in town halls and give local taxpayers the information they need to hold councils to account about how they spend their money.

Councils are now required to publish details about pay matters every year, while senior appointments and severance payments of £100,000 have to go to a full council vote.
In respondse to a select committee report on senior pay in local government new rules require councils to come clean about how they appraise the performance of top earners. They will also have to explain the reason behind lucrative bonuses and how they deal with poor performance.

Eric Pickles said: “When we came to power hundreds of directors, executives and strategists were lining their pockets with hardworking families’ cash. But this government’s focus on excessive pay grounded pay rises received by senior council staff which had soared out of control during the noughties.

But there is still more to do and councils should be focusing resources on protecting frontline services and keeping Council Tax down rather than throwing away taxpayers’ money.

Local taxpayers would be shocked to learn their council still has many highly paid staff on its payroll while pleading poverty and seeking to increase Council Tax. The gravy train is over and town halls must prove to hardworking families they are getting value for money from top earners.”