At a time when council tax bills are rising, 16 council officers are each earning more than three times the average nurse's salary in Milton Keynes

A list of civic offices 'fat cat' shows 16 MK Council officers earning more than £100K a year and our chief executive earning more than the Prime Minister.

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 1:05 pm
Updated Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 2:06 pm

The Town Hall Rich List 2021, published today by Taxpayers' Alliance, sets out details of the top earners in local authorities all over England.

It shows Milton Keynes Council chief executive Michael Bracey earning a basic salary of £179,520, which inflate to £214,885 with his 'gold-plated' £35,365 a year pension contribution.

This is higher than Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who receives £81,932 for being an MP and is entitled to an additional £79,469 for his role as PM.

A list of the highest paid workers in MK's civic offices has been published today

The rich list also reveals 15 other civic office officials in MK who are earning more than £100,000 a year.

One of the highest paid officers is the director of children´s services, who pockets £121,195 a year, or £145,071 including a generous pension contribution. The director of adult services earns £113,283 (£135,600 with pension).

An undisclosed officer pockets £137,500, while the director of environment and property is paid £112,068. Three more undisclosed officers are paid £127,500 apiece.

The head of 'policy, insight and communications' at MK Council earns a cool £95,000 but this rises to £113,715 with the pension. Other high earners include the director of law and governance, the head of housing and regeneration, the director of growth, economy and culture, and the head of finance and resources.

Meanwhile the average salary for a hard-working NHS nurse in the UK is £33,384, according to the Royal College of Nursing. A vital primary school teacher earns an average of £34,500 a year.

Taxpayers' Alliance campaigners say it is unfair that council officers are paid so much when the public are facing rising council tax bills. They are calling on local authorities to stop council tax rises and cut down on wasteful spending by scrapping pet projects and pay rises for council executives.

In Milton Keynes, people are this week receiving council tax bills that have risen by 3.49 per cent for the year ahead. This means the average Band D household will now have to pay £1,810.05 for council, police, and fire services.

Over the past 20 years, council tax throughout England has doubled. A quick calculation reveals it takes almost 100 households' council tax bills in MK - a whole street of houses - to pay the salary of the council's chief executive alone.

Against this background, the number of local authority employees receiving over £100,000 in total remuneration has risen to the highest level since 2013-14.

Today a Taxpayers' Alliance spokesman said: "Residents are facing squeezed household budgets during the current coronavirus crisis, with council tax charges going up across the country from April 6. This is in spite of deep public opposition to and the widespread belief that senior salaries should be frozen or cut."

A poll conducted by the campaign group shows the overwhelming majority of people oppose council tax increases, with six out of 10 people saying councils should freeze or cut top salaries to help keep bills down.

"Council tax is particularly disliked. The public are deeply hostile to council tax rises – and this is felt particularly amongst working class audiences," said the Taxpayers' Alliance spokesman.

Meanwhile the national poll showed residents are not convinced of the effectiveness of their council, despite the officers' high salaries.

Some 44 per cent of people said their council's performance was "average", compared to 28 per cent who say it performs well.

Asked about the general effectiveness of the chief executive of their local council, 31 per cent of people didn’t know whether they were effective.

An MK Council spokesman said: "As one of MK’s largest organisations, we pay salaries that help us attract experienced and skilled people while making sure our overall senior structure is lean and value for money. For instance we’ve reduced the number of people in our leadership team by three over the last year.”