How taxpayers fund the £50,000 council bosses

PUBLISHED: 12:06 07 February 2008 | UPDATED: 12:57 06 May 2010

SKY-HIGH salaries of senior staff at Herts County Council (HCC) cost almost £40 million last year, it has been revealed by the TaxPayers Alliance. They named the county council as third highest in their list of 25 local authorities in the country in the

SKY-HIGH salaries of senior staff at Herts County Council (HCC) cost almost £40 million last year, it has been revealed by the TaxPayers' Alliance.

They named the county council as third highest in their list of 25 local authorities in the country in the amount they spend on remuneration packages of more than £50,000 a year.

In total there were 647 staff paid avove that figure at HCC which costs roughly £38 a year per person in Herts where there is a population of nearly 1,060,000.

In comparison, Hampshire, which has a higher population, had fewer than three-quarters of the Herts figure for staff earning more than £50,000 per annum and they paid out about £28 million.

Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "With council tax doubling in the past decade, it's extremely disappointing that town halls have chosen to hire a new class of middle managers, many of whom are being paid more than MPs. Local authorities should study these findings carefully to see where savings can be made, instead of using their £500-million PR machine to obscure their finances from taxpayers."

HCC defended the salary packages this week. A spokesperson said: "It's important to put these figures in context, as the Taxpayers' Alliance is not comparing like with like. HCC employs 32,000 people and is being compared to some councils employing as few as 500 people."

She pointed out that those on £50,000 salaries included headteachers and heads of departments in schools and that the figure also included all taxable benefits.

She also said that the high cost of living in Herts meant they had to pay competitive rates to recruit and retain the best people, especially given the close proximity to London.

The figures for St Albans District Council also showed that the number of their staff with £50,000-plus packages had more than doubled. In 2001 they only had seven such people, costing a total of £455,000, but last year they had 15, at more than double the cost.

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