Pay is fair, say our town halls in Lancashire and Fylde coast

Council employees were put under the spotlight in a new report on high wages.

Monday, 15th April 2019, 6:19 pm
Updated Monday, 15th April 2019, 6:39 pm
A new report about town hall pay has been published

The survey by the Taxpayers’ Alliance found that 2,454 council staff across the UK raked in more than £100,000 last year.

The high wages, says the Alliance, are still being paid out at a time when austerity measures mean services are cut and council tax bills rise.

Blackpool Council said only two of its staff top £100,000, while Lancashire County Council argued top salaries are needed to attract top candidates for challenging roles.

John O'Connell, research director for the Taxpayers' Alliance.

There are four employees at Lancashire, including chief executive Angie Ridgewell (£134,999), whose basic salary tops £100,000, although 10 exceed that with the pension package.

At Blackpool, chief executive Neil Jack earns a basic salary of £137,914 and the director of public health Arif Rajpura earns £105,959, although six employees top £100,000 when pension packages are included.

John O’Connell (inset), chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “The average council tax bill is up by over £900 over twenty years, but disappointingly, many authorities now respond 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, many town hall bosses still pocket huge remuneration packages.”

Wyre and Fylde Councils, where top bosses earned £107,974 and £97,000 basic pay respectively, did not comment.

Blackpool Council said: “Pay grades for anyone earning above £50,000 have been available on our website 
for years.

“As of April 2019, only two officers have basic pay which is more than £100,000.”

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “Senior officers’ pay reflects the skills and responsibilities required of these complex roles and ensures that we attract and retain the best people possible for Lancashire.

“The council employs over 12,000 people in full-time and part-time roles.

“We are responsible for a diverse range of vital services which support and protect our most vulnerable residents.

“We also provide public health and waste disposal services, advice to schools, maintain 4,300 miles of roads and invest in the county to foster its economic growth and prosperity.”