THE STAGGERING number of council staff raking in over £100,000 for jobs in town halls across east London and Essex has been revealed.
The Taxpayers’ Alliance released its annual Town Hall Rich List today, which looks at the salaries of council officers from across the country in the 2015/16 financial year.
During that period, Waltham Forest council paid nine employees over £100,000 and its chief executive, Martin Esom, a tidy £195,000.
To put it in perspective, that’s nearly £40,000 more than Prime Minister Theresa May’s £150,402 yearly salary.
For the same financial year, Redbridge council also forked out more than £100,000 for nine of its senior figures.
Before a senior management reshuffle within the Redbridge town hall last year, its four most senior figures raked in over £150,000.
Topping Redbridge’s money list for the 2015/16 financial year was the former Director of Environment and Community Services, Simon Barry, who earned a hefty £232,390.
This staggering figure was a 40 per cent increase from the £166,116 Mr Barry took home during the 2014/15 financial year.
But both Waltham Forest and Redbridge councils fall far behind Essex council, which paid 36 of its employees more than £100,000.
Outside of London, Essex county council has the highest number of employees earning over £100,000 in the country, second only to Southwark council with 44.
However, four of its top earners included in the list have already left the authority.
Over in Enfield, the town hall paid 12 council staff more than £100,000 and its chief executive, Rob Leak, a cool £188,955 during the 2015/16 financial year.
It also paid another three of its staff more than £170,000 for the same period.
John O’Connell, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “When local residents are struggling with tax rises, taxpayers will rightly question whether paying such enormous amounts in top boss pay can be justified.
"The average council tax bill has gone up by more than £900 over the last twenty 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.”
An Essex county council spokesperson defended the enormous sums its town hall pays, adding: “We need leadership of the highest calibre if we are going to continue to deliver the best outcome for Essex residents.
“If we are to attract the best people in the country to help us deal with these challenges and stay competitive in a market place where we compete with the commercial sector for the best talent, we need to offer an appropriate level of salary.
“Essex County Council is one of the largest local authorities in England. Over the past seven years, we’ve transformed the council so that we can continue to improve and deliver the services people need and at the same time keep council tax in check.
“We’ve already delivered savings of £597 million and we are also on track to save a further £106 million by the end of 2017/18 because of our strong track record of financial management. We have also dealt with severe budget pressures, particularly in adult social care where we have had to deal with the increasing demands of an ageing population. All our salaries are subject to regular independent review and measured against the public and not for profit sector.”
Enfield, Redbridge and Waltham Forest councils have all been contacted for a response.