Taxpayers’ Alliance starts pay and perks row with town hall rich list

Glasgow Council paid out a number of remunerations packages. Picture: Robert Perry
Glasgow Council paid out a number of remunerations packages. Picture: Robert Perry
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SCOTLAND’S largest local authority paid 25 members of staff remuneration packages of more than £100,000 during 2010 to 2011, according to new research.

The figures for Glasgow City Council emerged from a survey of local authority pay across the UK by the Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA).

The study showed more than 3,000 senior executives pocketed pay and perks packages in excess of £100,000 in the past year, including one Glasgow City Council official who topped the UK remuneration list. The official no longer works for the authority.

View the Taxpayers Alliance report

The study revealed that 3,097 town hall employees were awarded deals worth six-figure sums in 2010-11, a hike of 13 per cent on the previous year.

It also found 658 staff across the UK earned between £150,000 and £249,999, while 52 broke the £250,000 mark. However, Scottish councils condemned the list as misleading, claiming that it contained remuneration packages that included one-off redundancy payments that distorted overall figures.

The TPA acknowledged that some of the packages included redundancy payments but insisted this did not “wholly account” for the increase in high payouts.

Glasgow’s payment of more than £100,000 to 25 members placed it 16th in the UK league table of payouts.

The report also showed that Glasgow City Council’s former executive director of special projects, Ian Drummond, who has since left the local authority, topped the UK remuneration package list for 2010-2011. With the inclusion of his redundancy deal, he received £450,628. Excluding any redundancy payments, George Black, chief executive of Glasgow City Council, received the highest remuneration in Scotland, with a package of £217,419.

A council spokesman said the figures had been artificially inflated by redundancy payments that the council had been making as part of swingeing job cuts.

He said: “With local government facing unprecedented cuts, we simply cannot sustain the number of staff we once had.

“If the Taxpayers’ Alliance was genuinely interested in public finances, it would realise that these are not simply normal salary costs – they include a redundancy deal that will save the public purse £45 million every year. The alternative is brutal cuts to frontline services. That’s the choice.”

The spokesman also said that the retirement contributions made would be going to Strathclyde Pensions Fund, not directly to the individual, and that they would only benefit latterly. Among the other Scottish local authorities which had members among the top ten highest remuneration north of the Border, there was a total rejection of the TPA figures and methods.

Fife Council attacked the “inconsistencies and lack of contact in this report, which could mislead the public”, stating that the TPA had also included redundancy packages and pension contributions which skewed the number of “high earners”.

An Aberdeen City Council spokesman said that, following a significant reorganisation, it had reduced its directors from six to five and cut head of service numbers, amounting to savings worth more than £3 million over five years.