Monday, 14 May 2012

Town Hall Fat Cats!

On 25 April I posted an exposure of the salaries of Town Hall Fat Cats taken from the Taxpayer's Alliance Rich List. I concentrated on my local Councils and quoted the salaries of some of the officials who serve both Charnwood Borough Council and Leicestershire County Council. The main thrust of my argument is that no local, relatively low level, local government official should be earning more than the Prime Minister.

My further concern is that local councillors should be aiming to keep these salaries in proportion so that revenue from Council Tax is spent fairly for the benefit of the taxpayers. I went further and sent my observations to the local newspaper, the Loughborough Echo, because it is my belief that if they are doing their job they should be keeping the councillors on their toes. I did not get an acknowledgement.

However, in their edition dated 11 May on the inside front cover one of their correspondents, Matt Jarram, penned an article revealing the top local council earners. I would like to steer you towards it but it does not appear in the online version of the Loughborough Echo. The reason that I wanted to steer you towards it is that the figures revealed in the Taxpayer's Alliance Rich List do not correspond in any way to the salaries revealed by Mr Jarram.

In every instance the Echo's figures are some way short of the Alliance figures. Someone somewhere is distorting the truth. My question is...why would the Taxpayer's Alliance falsify their figures? It would mean that their research was meaningless so...why would the officers earning more than the PM falsify their figures?

I will leave it up to you to decide. 


bewick said...

I think you may find Bryboy that the TPA includes "pension contributions" and "benefits" in its calculations. It also includes "payments for loss of office" aka redundancy. The local rag is likely reporting only the headline salary rather than full cost of employment.
In some respects the TPA tries to mirror company reports. Maybe that is the correct way. Certainly ,when I was calculating costs in LG for illustration of savings, all costs, including employer NI, office space, “hidden costs” such as employee support and payment etc. ,were included. Only way to compare.
LG "pensions contributions" were supposed to be a uniform % under the Local Government Superannuation Scheme but it is possible that the top earners have negotiated something different and perhaps to a private scheme.
“Benefits” could include many things – provision of a car (I always had to buy my own and claim expenses when I used it for work which was often); expenses such as hotels and travel and subsistence when travelling far on business. All of these should be legitimate expenses but ???? – well it seems that some authorities actually provide accommodation for new “high-flyers” who don’t wish to physically re-locate. Shameful. A Newcastle City Labour Councillor once had the nerve to tell me that I must locate to within the City (I only lived 12 miles away) if “you want us to trust you”. I told him where to shove it in no uncertain terms – but 100 miles away and not relocating, and being provided free accommodation to boot, together with travel to work expenses, is totally shameful.
Redundancy? Well the LG scheme has always been generous . It followed the statutory scheme but used actual salary instead of the maximum statutory weekly amount of £350. Those with long service though might get 2 years of salary.
Things HAVE changed. The amounts handed out to top earners made redundant, or even resigning, after even only 2 years are obscene. All down to “short-term” contracts which never existed in my day – except where a limited time project was in existence.
Final point – some “salaries” seem abnormally high. That is probably because an “interim manager” has been engaged on contract rates. That DID sometimes happen in my day in exceptional circumstances.

Hope that answers your query

bewick said...

Further point - the TPA "salary" might include the severance amount. Civil Servant redundancy terms are considerably more generous than LG. Have even heard it can be 6 years salary in some cases

bryboy said...

Once again tks for your input. Your inside knowledge is always useful and keeps me on the right track. Perhaps the TPA should clarify their figures?Perhaps they do and I missed it but it is misleading with all the add ons. The difference may be in the terms 'salary' and 'remuneration package'. I do however maintain my central theme that no public servant in Leicestershire should earn more than the PM and far too many do!