Town Hall Rich List: almost 3,000 council staff earned over £100k last year amid ‘record’ tax rises

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The Town Hall Rich List found more local authorities failed to publish their accounts suggesting the true number of employees receiving large salaries is much higher

Almost 3,000 council staff earned £100,000 or more last year as households across the country battled soaring living costs and tax hikes.

The number of local authority employees with a six-figure pay and benefits package went up to 2,759 during 2021-22, with 721 getting more than £150,000, according to the 16th annual Town Hall Rich List published by the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA).

Of the ten local authorities with the most employees receiving over £100,000, eight were in London - with Westminster council alone having 50 of the highest paid employees.

The local authority that paid out the highest amount in terms of bonuses and performance related pay to a senior employee was Newcastle Upon Tyne council, with its director of public health receiving a £36,192 bonus.

Almost 3,000 council staff earned £100k last year amid huge tax hike. (Photo: NationalWorld/Kim Mogg/Adobe Stock)  Almost 3,000 council staff earned £100k last year amid huge tax hike. (Photo: NationalWorld/Kim Mogg/Adobe Stock)
Almost 3,000 council staff earned £100k last year amid huge tax hike. (Photo: NationalWorld/Kim Mogg/Adobe Stock) | NationalWorld/Kim Mogg/Adobe Stock

This year saw a large reduction in the number of councils publishing accounts, with 47 failing to disclose the pay of its town hall bosses. This is compared to 25 local authorities not disclosing their accounts last year.

TPA estimates suggest that had all of the figures been disclosed, the true number of council staff on £100,000 would have been closer to 3,126 individuals rather than 2,759. The Alliance also estimates that the true amount of individuals receiving £150,000 or more would be 818 instead of 721.

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The Town Hall Rich List is a vital tool for taxpayers wanting to judge which authorities are delivering the best value for money and gives a council-by-council breakdown of local government executive pay deals.

The TPA is the UK’s independent campaign for lower taxes, committed to forcing politicians to listen to ordinary taxpayers.

On its website, the campaign group says national debt “has now surpassed £1 trillion” and “unless action is taken to tackle unsustainable public spending future generations will inherit the consequences of today’s extravagance”.

The TPA is calling on local authorities to stop council tax rises and cut down on wasteful spending, including by demanding better value from town hall bosses.

John O’Connell, chief executive of TPA, said the public can “use these figures to hold their local town hall bosses to account.”

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He added: "Taxpayers facing record council tax rises want to be sure they are getting value for money from their local authority leadership. Many authorities continue with extremely generous pay and perks, including bonuses and golden goodbyes, while local people are facing a financial squeeze.

Who has been paid the most?

The managing director of Guildford council received the highest remuneration of any council employee in the country raking in £607,633 in total - including a £107,195 salary, £339,158 pension contribution and £5,688 in benefits.

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Listed are the highest remunerated employees in each region in 2021-22:

  • South East: Managing director of Guildford Council - £607,633
  • North East: Executive director of neighbourhoods of Sunderland Council - £573,550
  • Scotland: Executive director of North Lanarkshire Council - £536,530
  • London: Chief executive of Ealing Council - £325,047
  • West Midlands: Corporate director of Wyre Forest Council - £286,230
  • South West: Director homes and landlord services (interim) of City of Bristol Council  - £280,634
  • East of England: Chief executive of Essex Council - £254,453
  • North West: Chief executive of Manchester Council - £250,727
  • Yorkshire and the Humber: Chief executive of Sheffield Council - £243,130
  • East Midlands: Strategic director of South Kesteven Council - £237,000
  • Wales: Chief executive of Cardiff Council - £227,116
  • Northern Ireland: Clerk and chief executive of Newry, Mourne and Down Council - £152,463
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