City bucks the rich list trend

Lancaster Town Hall.
Lancaster Town Hall.

Town halls across Lancashire paid six-figure salaries to 50 council officials last year – while suffering devastating cuts to their budgets.

Lancaster City Council was one of only two that bucked the trend - alongside Burnley- of increasing the number of six figure earners.

Lancaster has reduced from three to one, Burnley from two to one.

The county rich list figures are a a 25 per cent increase on the previous 12 months, and include England’s highest-paid local government employee David McElhinney, who pocketed £280,000 from Lancashire County Council for heading the now defunct One Connect Limited – on top of a similar role for Liverpool City Council.

While the number of senior council staff earning more than £100,000 fell nationally, the Red Rose county showed an increase of a quarter on the 40 officers who were taking home bumper pay packets a year earlier.

The revelations come in the latest Town Hall Rich List, an annual survey by the Taxpayers’ Alliance. A spokesman said: “Sadly too many local authorities are still increasing the number of highly paid staff on their payroll.”

In Lancashire the biggest number of top-bracket earners came at County Hall where 13 staff were paid £100,000-plus in 2012/13.

The county council is currently downsizing, trying to lose 2,500 jobs and make budget cuts of £300m .

Of the districts which form part of the county council, Preston was in front with five – an increase of two on the previous 12 months. 
Chorley was up from two to three. West Lancashire paid two executives over £100,000.All the other district authorities, South Ribble, Fylde, Wyre, Lancaster, Ribble Valley, Rossendale, Burnley, Hyndburn and 
Pendle, had one six-figure earner each - their chief executives.

Coun Jennifer Mein, Lancashire County Council leader said: “We’re making significant reductions in the number of senior officers at the county council as part of delivering the £300m savings we have to achieve by 2018. Reductions in the number of senior posts will continue to be disproportionately high compared to other parts of the workforce .”