By Max Clarke

A TaxPayers’ Alliance report on senior local government salaries reveals that 2,295 council staff receive salaries in excess of £100,000 a year, while 48 are paid salaries of £250,000 or more.

Matthew Sinclair, Director of The TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“Councils should be scouring every inch of their expenditure to identify savings, so taxpayers will be staggered that so many council employees are still getting such a generous deal. Councils insist cuts can only mean pressure on frontline services but they clearly have money to spend when it comes to paying their own senior staff. It is crucial that some of these senior council executives set an example and ensure they have the moral authority to lead spending cuts by taking a pay cut themselves.

Local Government Association Chief Executive John Ransford, defended the figures:

Councils provide more than 700 services local people want and need, from collecting rubbish and maintaining roads to providing schools and caring for the elderly. Many have large budgets and need to pay competitive wages if they are to attract and keep people capable of delivering the best services at the lowest cost.

Senior salaries represent just 2.58 per cent of the overall local government wage bill and local authorities are widely acknowledged as the most efficient part of the public sector. As the TaxPayers’ Alliance accepts a significant number of salary increases were brought about by one-off redundancy payments made as councils strive to become even more efficient. Those increases represent a short-term spike caused by councils introducing measures like sharing chief executives and merging back offices which will significantly reduce management costs in the long term.

"The real scandal in local government”, commented Dave Prentis, General Secretary of public sector union UNISON, “is that nearly one million full-time staff (70%), earn less than £21,000 a year.”

"And despite being so low paid they received no pay increase last year and face another two years pay freeze, causing real hardship to them and their families.