Report reveals top earners at Trust

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THE COST of Wigan’s leisure service high-flyers is revealed today.

Recently retired chief executive of Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust Rodney Hill was paid between £100,000 and £110,000 last year.

And four other un-named managers received annual salaries of between £70,000 and £80,000, the WLCT accounts for the financial year ending March 2010 have revealed.

They also received a combined £16,743 contribution to their pension pots last year ... up by £2,193 from 2009.

The number of full-time employees employed by the charitable group fell by 10 from 2009 year to 861 last year.

The Trust, formed in 2007 to take on the role of the council’s own recreation and amenities department, received £16.7m ‘community service fees’ to run the borough’s leisure and cultural facilities in 2010 - 47 per cent of its total income.

Leader of the opposition on the council Coun Gary Wilkes said: “I find the huge salaries WMBC are forking out to senior staff very distasteful during these hard financial times.”

The board of trustees reported that major investments for the financial year ending 2010 included £100,000 funding to relocate Orrell Library to the Lamberhead Green site, a £50,000 contribution to the Mesnes Park redevelopment and £25,000 to develop office accommodation at Haigh Hall.

They say: “The Trust met all of its social and business objectives and significantly entered into its first contract to deliver services to a local authority other than Wigan.

“Through a combination of pro-active management and effective marketing, even in the general adverse economic trading conditions that existed during the year, the Trust generated a trading surplus for the year that was in excess of that budgeted for at the start of the year.

“Both of the Trust’s trading subsidiaries have been successful in commercial markets.

“Wigan Leisure and Culture Enterprises Limited and Proco Enterprises Limited generate trading surpluses of £74,349 and £82,277 respectively.

“The current economic recession has impacted upon income streams from customers through both a reduction in numbers of visitors and reduction in unit spend.

“However, this reduction in income was compensated for in-year by expenditure efficiencies and going forward, the budget for 2010 /11 identified a small trading surplus, in line with the Trust’s agreed Reserves Policy, after accommodating reduced level of income.”

A spokesman for Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust (WLCT) said: “As a successful business, which competes in the private sector, management salaries are generally lower than organisations of a similar size and complexity.”