A ‘rich list’ has revealed that the 11 chief executives across all South London town halls earn more than £2.3m between them.
The list, created by the TaxPayers’ Alliance, shows the highest earners in each council and highlights that 149 senior staff members across 11 boroughs earned more than £100,000 between 2017-18.
According to the list, chief executive of Wandsworth and Richmond councils, Paul Martin, is the highest earner in South London councils, taking home nearly £300,000 a year – which includes £10,000 in bonuses.
Wandsworth and Richmond raised council taxes this year as well as both town halls making pleas for extra funding from central government.
A spokesman for Wandsworth council said: “As a chief executive with responsibility for two local authorities, Paul Martin oversees an organisation employing 4,500 staff and serving over 500,000 people.
“As chief executive he has led the successful consolidation of the two councils’ shared workforce which has led to savings of £10m for each of the two boroughs.”
Lambeth and Bexley, whose chief executives were the next highest paid in South London, increased council tax rates by the maximum amount allowed without calling an election.
Lambeth’s chief executive, Sean Harris, took home £246,830 and Bexley’s Gillian Steward received £228,845.
A council spokesman for Lambeth said: “We are mindful to seek value for money in relation to all council expenditure, including staff salaries.
“Lambeth council’s former chief executive received a salary of £183,000 with no performance-related pay or bonuses prior to his departure from the council with ill-health in 2017.
“Salary negotiations had resulted in his wage being lower than the chief executive before him.
“As explained in the statement of accounts Mr Harris got a one-off extra payment that year from the cabinet office for running an election, and a one-off loss of office payment, resulting in an unrepresentative higher figure.”
Dawn Warwick, former director of children’s services at Wandsworth and Richmond, was the highest paid official not a chief executive, and earned £217,671.
John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “The average council tax bill has gone up by more than £900 over the last 20 years and spending has gone through the roof.
“Disappointingly, many local authorities are now responding to financial reality through further tax rises and reducing services rather than scaling back top pay.
“Despite many in the public sector facing a much-needed pay freeze to help bring the public finances under control, many town hall bosses are continuing to pocket huge remuneration packages, with staggering pay-outs for those leaving their jobs.
“There are talented people in the public sector who are trying to deliver more for less, but the sheer scale of these packages raise serious questions about efficiency and priorities.”
“The basic salary for the council’s chief executive is £171,408-£196,785.
Progression through the scale is subject to the council’s performance management scheme, which also allows for payment of a 5% bonus in accordance with the scheme criteria.”
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