Hampshire County Council responds to high pay accusations

Ken Thornber, Leader of Hampshire County Council
Leader of Hampshire County Council Ken Thornber defends the authority's wage bill Photo: Hampshire County Council

The Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Ken Thornber has responded to accusations that some of his staff are paid too much. Hampshire County Council comes ninth in a table from the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) of local authorities with the most staff on salaries of more than £50,000. The TPA said that councils must look at their wage bills as part of their spending cuts.

“We have cut the number of senior managers at the Council by 25% (160) including the number of Directors. As part of our ambitious £100 million cost reduction programme we have also reduced overall staffing numbers by around 1800.

"By the end of the 2013/14 financial year, we will have saved a total of more than £46 million on our paybill and will be spending £32 million less each year after that. Losing highly valued staff has not been easy for us and we are hugely grateful to them for the contribution they have made in the past to the County Council and the services we provide.

“The fact the Council continues to perform strongly across all services, despite undergoing unprecedented levels of organisational change is a credit to the managers and staff who remain, many of whom have taken on the work of their colleagues who have left.

“Our Pay Policy is comparable to any public service and our salary levels are lower than in many similar authorities. The data the Taxpayer’s Alliance has provided is readily available as we publish details of our pay structure under our ongoing commitment to greater transparency. This includes our pay scales, the pay of chief officers and the pension contributions made, together with the number of employees within particular bands. It is also worth noting that pay in the public sector has been frozen at current levels for the past three years.

“People should not forget what a large authority we are – the third largest in the land – and we need to attract and retain the best managers.”

– Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Ken Thornber