Glasgow pays 32 council chiefs £100k or more

MORE civil servants working for Glasgow City Council are paid over £100,000 than any other local authority in the UK, with 32 employees receiving a six-figure sum in the last financial year.

According to the Town Hall Rich List, Glasgow paid more civil servants over £100,000 than any other UK council. Picture: Contributed
According to the Town Hall Rich List, Glasgow paid more civil servants over £100,000 than any other UK council. Picture: Contributed

Meanwhile, the council’s highest-paid employee pocketed a larger remuneration package than any other council worker in Britain – earning three and a half times the annual salary of the First Minister or the Prime Minister.

David Crawford, the executive director of social care services, was the best-paid council civil servant in the UK, with his total package, including a redundancy payment, coming to £486,303.

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According to the eighth “Town Hall Rich List”, put together by campaign group the Taxpayers’ Alliance, Glasgow council pays 32 of its staff more than £100,000, while Edinburgh pays ten employees a six-figure remuneration package. Aberdeen, meanwhile, paid high salaries to six senior civil servants.

The analysis of council pay found that a Scottish civil servant was also named in the report as the highest-paid council employee, excluding larger than usual, one-off payments due to redundancy or retirement.

Ian Craig, chief executive of Transport for Edinburgh, which incorporates Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams, received £300,081, made up of a basic salary of £183,085 and a bonus of £79,856, plus pension payments.

In comparison, First Minister Alex Salmond earns £140,647 a year, while Prime Minister David Cameron takes home £142,500.

Politicians and campaigners raised concerns over the wages.

Scottish Conservative local government spokesman Cameron Buchanan said: “At a time when local authorities are supposed to be tightening their belts, I can understand why the hard-pressed taxpayer would be concerned about these salaries.

“But what is more important is that, when high wages are paid, the results from that investment are tangible. If councils want to pay private-sector wages, then they have to produce private-sector results, too.”

A Scottish Labour spokeswoman said: “Of course we want the best calibre of people in charge of our councils, especially as they have to cope with ever-tightening budget constraints caused by the SNP’s underfunded council tax freeze. However, that will be cold comfort to thousands of public sector workers who have had below-inflation pay rises or lost their jobs.”

The Town Hall Rich List found that UK-wide, at least 2,181 council employees received total remuneration in excess of £100,000 in 2012-13 – a fall of five per cent on the previous year’s 2,295. But, despite the national decrease, 93 councils increased the number of staff receiving remuneration in 
excess of £100,000 in the fiscal year, costing the taxpayer nearly 
£300 million last year.

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “Sadly, too many local authorities are still increasing the number of highly paid staff on their payroll. Taxpayers expect their council to be filling potholes, not pay packets.” He added: “Many rank-and-file staff in local councils will be equally appalled. At a time when councils across the country are freezing pay, it appears the money they’re saving is being used to line the pockets of town hall 

UK-wide, there were 542 council employees who received remuneration over £150,000, with 34 of these receiving packages in excess of £250,000. The average salary of a council chief executive in 2012-13 was £127,560.

Graeme McDonald, director of Solace, the representative body for public sector chief executives and senior workers, defended high pay packages.

He said: “Senior management in local government presents a unique mixture of risk and accountability. The complexities of managing services as diverse as waste management, emergency response, social care and child protection are extreme.”

A spokesman for Glasgow Council claimed the figures had been “inflated” by including its retirement and redundancy programmes, and said it currently employs just eight people on a six-figure salary.

“The Taxpayers’ Alliance has artificially inflated its figures by including the results of the council’s early retirement programme, which will actually save taxpayers £55m in wages every year,” he said.

A spokesman for Transport for Edinburgh, which is majority owned by Edinburgh Council, said that Mr Craig’s pay is set by the organisation’s own board.

Top earners 2012/13:

David Crawford, executive director of social care services, Glasgow - £486,303

R Mcilwain, executive director, South Lanarkshire - £470,696

L Forde, executive director, South Lanarkshire - £447,295

Margaret Conner, executive HR manager, Glasgow - £396,889

John Foley, managing director, City Building (Glasgow) LLP, Glasgow - £371,185

I Craig, chief executive, Lothian Buses, Edinburgh - £300,081

John Sharkey, chief executive, SEC Ltd, Glasgow - £272,753

W Shannon, assistant chief executive, Shetland Islands - £245,208

W Devlin, engineering director, Lothian Buses, Edinburgh - £224,244

N Strachan, finance director, Lothian Buses, Edinburgh - £222,959

W Campbell, operations director, Lothian Buses, Edinburgh - £222,921

George Black, chief executive, Glasgow - £198,968

S Bruce, chief executive, Edinburgh - £196,310

R Peat, director of social work and health, Angus - £189,328

John Clarkin, managing director, City Parking (Glasgow) LLP, Glasgow - £185,534

Malcolm Close, operations director, SEC Ltd, Glasgow - £183,644

C McMahon, director of corporate services, Angus - £183,503

R Ashton, director of neighbourhood services, Angus - £182,233

Ronald Hinds, chief executive, Fife - £182,092

N Logue, director of education, Angus - £180,686