TOP council bosses are being paid almost as much as the prime minister for their work, according to statistics.
Figures released by The TaxPayers Alliance (TPA) show that many chief executives of councils in the region are earning around £150,000 per year.
The news comes after all councils across the region approved an increase in council tax for residents.
The TaxPayers Alliance is now calling for councils to cut back on the top levels of pay to bring finances ‘under control’.
John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘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.
‘Despite many in the public sector facing a much-needed pay freeze to help bring the public finances under control, many town hall bosses are continuing to pocket huge remuneration packages, with staggering pay-outs for those leaving their jobs despite a £95,000 cap passed by the last government.
‘There are talented people in the public sector who are trying to deliver more for less, but the sheer scale of these packages raise serious questions about efficiency and priorities.’
With Portsmouth and Gosport councils merging staff two years ago, solicitor Michael Lawther is on a total annual salary of £172,199.
But leader of Portsmouth City Council, Cllr Donna Jones, says that not only is this salary justified, but that residents in Portsmouth and Gosport actually benefit from the arrangement.
She said: ‘Portsmouth and Gosport are both paying for the salary – and both are paying less than they used to before the merge.
‘We are paying about three fifths of it, with Gosport paying the rest, and this is benefitting both sides of the harbour. It is cost saving for both parties and each council is able to make the most of the top quality officers we have.’
On chief executive David Williams’ salary, Cllr Jones said: ‘His pay needs to be reflective of the work he does in both Portsmouth and Gosport. Southampton also pays more for its chief executive than we do.’