Leader defends council pay

Blackpool Town Hall.
Blackpool Town Hall.
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Town hall chiefs today hit out at criticism of its spending on senior officer pay.

New figures published by the Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) show the number of staff receiving payouts of more than £100,000 doubled to six in 2013, compared to the year before.

But the council defended itself saying the research ignored efforts to cut its wage bill for senior staff.

Payments to two people only went above the £100,000 mark because of pension contributions made as part of a severance deal.

One of them, an unnamed former director of children, families and adults, was among the top 20 council earners in the country for 2013, pocketing more than £250,000.

Blackpool Council leader Simon Blackburn said: “The figures contained within this report are very misleading as they do not accurately reflect part year payments, and include redundancy and pension payments which we are legally obliged to pay when people are made redundant.”

“We inherited 22 chief officers five of whom were paid over £100,000. We now have nine chief officers, only one of whom is paid over £100,000. This is part of a prudent financial approach which means that council tax in Blackpool is now lower than it was when we came to office.”

The former director of children, families and adults was one of just two employees to take home a six-figure sum in 2013, not including pension contributions.

They earned a salary of £52,000 and took home a comparable sum as compensation for loss of office – but then received almost £179,000 in pension contributions.

The chief executive of the council took home a salary of £99,717 in 2013 – and received an election fee of more than £6,000 – taking the figure for the year above the £100,000 threshold for inclusion in the TPA report.

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