Sunday, January 04, 2009

Fat Cats R Us

Bob Piper quite rightly pointed out the irony at the heart of the Tories' planned crackdown on town hall fat cats. Of the eight authorities listed in the Times, six of them are run by the Conservatives themselves: Suffolk County, Kensington & Chelsea, Bexley, Hertfordshire, Ealing and Surrey. The other two are Labour Newham and Lib Dem Kingston upon Hull. Birmingham's own Stephen Hughes gets something around the £175k mark, just £13k behind the combined parliamentary and ministerial salary entitlements of the Prime Minister. All significantly exceed the parliamentary earnings of David Cameron - around the £130k mark.

There is super-inflation of chief executive pay that bears no correlation to the level of services they provide.

Of course, it isn't just chief executives - Bob also reminds us that the Conservative shadow cabinet have been enthusiastically lining their pockets from interests outside politics - and have successfully resisted Cameron's attempts to get them to focus on the job in hand. The front bench isn't just crammed with Old Etonians, it also accommodates 19 millionaires and 23 company directorships. William Hague, one of the prime movers behind Cameron's change of heart over outside commitments, comfortably earns over a million a year.

But let's not forget other leading Tory appointees. As the Guardian helpfully reminds us, senior members of Boris Johnson's team in London comfortably outearn most ministers with their national responsibilities. The communications director, policy director and deputy mayor for policy and planning all trouser some £124k a year.

Now, they may well be worth every penny and those may be the salaries that you have to pay to get the best in the business - but surely that's an argument you can apply to the top tier of local government. After all, it is fair to say that if you have an executive in charge of an organisation turning over some £2 billion a year, they are going to expect a serious salary. That applies in the private sector - I think most executives at that level would expect rather more than the £175k on offer in Birmingham.

However, Bob is on the money when he says that this is far more to do with getting column inches rather than any serious attempt to slim down those infamous fat cats.

1 comment:

Robert said...

I live in a back hole and the council stated it needed to pay well above the national rate to attract a great person so our top man gets £250,000. what has he done sod all.