Waltham Forest council has defended its decision to give an inflation-busting pay rise to its chief executive.

The authority's staffing committee, chaired by deputy leader Clyde Loakes, agreed that Martin Esom should receive a £15,000 pay rise for successfully leading a programme of cuts. It takes his total salary to £195,000. 

The increase is 6.7 per cent above the rate of inflation, currently at 1.6 per cent.

The committee also agreed to hand deputy chief executive for environment and regeneration, Shifa Mustafa, who left the post on August 29, a pay-off totalling £140,447.

The news sparked outrage this morning, with unions calling it insulting to council employees.

Most public sector workers have had their pay frozen for three years and received a one per cent pay rise this year.

Council leader Chris Robbins defended the payrise, but did not comment on Ms Mustafa's settlement. 

He said: “In 2010, the council lowered the pay scale for the chief executive post from £200,000 to £180,000.

“The highest point on the salary range is still lower than the salary for the post in 2010 and we believe that the new salary range is consistent with other London boroughs.”

“Progression up the salary scale will be subject to performance objectives being achieved and exceeded and leadership competencies being demonstrated."

Cllr Robbins also said that Mr Esom had earned the new wage.

He added: “Given the current chief executive’s performance over the past four years when resident satisfaction has dramatically improved, it has been agreed to place him at the top end of the new salary scale,” he added.

The £15,000 increase is 6.7 per cent above the rate of inflation, currently at 1.6 per cent.