Rise in 'Fat Cat' Salaries at Hounslow
Council blame Government pay-scales for increase
There has been a 30% increase in Council staff paid over £50,000 over the last financial year according to the borough's recently published annual accounts.
There are now 128 people paid over that figure at the Council and 12 paid over £100,000 (compared to 10 in the previous year).
The Council has been reducing head count after management consultants were brought in to recommend efficiency gains but the axe seems to have fallen so far on less highly paid employees.
Opposition politicians have claimed that the rises are consistent with the granting of large increases in allowances to senior Councillors when the present administration took over. They are also saying that the rises are being funded by a reduction in spending in other areas often with the most vulnerable members of the community bearing the brunt.
The Council deny that the cuts have had any impact on front line services but these claims have been vehemently contradicted by local voluntary groups who say their funding has been reduced.
The rise in salaries is blamed on the nationally agreed pay award negotiated between public sector staff and central government. The Council is obliged to pass this on to its employees.
As a result of the last settlement, some officers who were on salaries of just under £50,000 had an increase in their salaries which pushed them to just over the £50,000 mark. This accounts for most of the increase in people earning over that amount rather than additional staff being taken on.
A Council spokesperson said, "Just one of the big changes delivered by Hounslow’s performance improvement and cost cutting work has been to slash the numbers of senior staff and to delete 150 management posts. The increased figures for employees earning above £120K relates to a small number of posts and is due entirely to annual pay changes, not to any increase of posts at this level."
Not included in the figures is the remuneration of staff working at the Council on an agency basis. These include the Head of IT and a PR expert who Council insiders say are paid six figure sums per annum. The Council have declined requests for the payments made to contracted staff to be published.
Labour Councillor Matt Harmer said: “Residents will ask why their salaries, which are being paid for by taxpayers, are not made public. What is the council ashamed of? If the high salaries are necessary then the council should be able to justify these salaries and not cover everything in a veil of secrecy.”
August 22, 2009