Pay revealed: Increase in Wigan Council staff earning more than £100,000 a year

Former chief executive Donna Hall
Former chief executive Donna Hall

More Wigan Council staff are now earning more than £100,000, according to the annual “town hall rich list”.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance has published its 12th annual list revealing the local authority staff on the highest salaries in 2017-18.

There were 10 high earners in Wigan, rising from seven in last year’s list.

Top of the table was chief executive Donna Hall, whose salary was £165,000 before she stepped down last month.

Joining her in the £150,000 banding was Alison McKenzie-Folan, who was deputy chief executive (director for customer transaction) at the time but has since taken the top job vacated by Ms Hall.

Her salary was £140,000, with a pension of £27,440 pushing her into the higher bracket.

Pulling in the same £140,000 salary was Paul McKevitt, deputy chief executive (director for resources and contracts).

Earning £120,000 were Stuart Cowley, director for adult social care and health, and James Winterbottom, director for children and families.

Also on the list were Rebecca Heron, director for economy and regeneration, who earned £101,930, and Prof Kate Ardern, director of public health, on £101,451.

The director for integrated care, Rebecca Murphy, earned £90,000, with a pension of £17,640 pushing her onto the list of high earners.

While the rich list features job titles in Wigan rather than the names of individuals, two people whose roles were simply labelled as “undisclosed” were included. They earned salaries of £142,500 and £117,500.

Wigan was placed in the top 20 per cent of councils for the number of people receiving more than £100,000.

The number had been dropping, but has returned to the same figure recorded in 2015-16.

Lisa Selby, assistant director for human resources at Wigan Council, said: “We are one of only two councils in England not increasing council tax this year for residents.

“Wigan Council is the second largest council in Greater Manchester and takes responsibility for hundreds of services which run every day for 323,000 residents. Overall our level of pay is in the bottom quarter of Greater Manchester councils despite our size compared to other authorities and we are one of the largest authorities in the country.

“As part of our determination to provide value for money we continuously review our management structure, looking to combine roles and find opportunities to share posts with health partners and other local authorities ensuring we provide value to residents and make further efficiencies.

“Over recent years there has been a reduction in the numbers of directors and senior managers resulting in excess of £1m worth of savings.”

Nationally, in 2017-18 there were at least 2,454 council employees who received total remuneration in excess of £100,000.

That was 148 more than in 2016-17 and the highest number since 2013-14.

A total of 608 council employees earned more than £150,000.

There were 28 local authority employees who received remuneration in excess of a quarter of a million pounds during the year.

Essex topped the table with 55 high earners, with 13 of those receiving more than £150,000.

In the North West, Cheshire East paid 19 people more than £100,000 and the biggest remuneration package was received by Wirral’s managing director for delivery - £569,423.

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 20 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.

“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.”