Eric Pickles spoke at Tory Party conference today about the fact that council chief executives should take a pay cut in the current financial climate, to ensure that they can look their workers straight in the face and share their pain. This would be a good message were it not for the fact the the Tories seem more willing than any other party to lavish large pay rises on to chief executives of Tory councils.
The leaders of Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex County Councils, all Tory run, each earn more than £200,000 a year. The leader of Suffolk County Council, Andrea Hill earns £220,000 a year – more than the Prime Minister. Her salary is 18 per cent higher than two years ago.
But looking below the level of Chief Executives, Tory councils seem quite happy to splash taxpayers cash on large remuneration packages. Take the £182,000 for a council "head of communications", or Spin Doctor, as the Tory supporting Daily Mail described her role.
Perhaps though Mr Pickles own Tories in Brentwood and on Essex County Council could answer the question why their Chief Executive, who shares the roles of overseeing both these councils, is the fourth highest paid chief exec in the country ?
The answer given by the Tories when pressed on matters regarding high pay for officers in Tory run councils is that "you have to pay that rate because they save the council money through the efficiencies they make". The question is for Mr Pickles, is he calling these Tories liars when they make such statements ? For if it is, isn't it a false economy ?
Personally I cannot see why any chief exec should earn more than the Prime Minister.