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Outrage at council 'fat cat' salaries

PUBLISHED: 16:14 27 September 2010 | UPDATED: 16:43 27 September 2010

TOWN hall executives have been criticised for pocketing tens of thousands of pounds more than the Prime Minister - while axing jobs and services.

New figures show Havering Council’s chief executive Cheryl Coppell pocketed £200,215 last year, almost £60,000 more than David Cameron.

She, and other chief executives, are facing calls to slash their pay, which includes salary and pension contributions. Havering Council is preparing to impose savings of £52million over the next five years.

Council opposition leader, Cllr Clarence Barrett said top bureaucrats helping to implement massive cuts to services and staff should lead by example.

He said: “At a time when we are facing huge cuts, pay freezes and significant job losses it is important that councils are seen to be leading from the front and exercise prudence. It is vital that value for money is not only achieved but is also clearly demonstrated to council taxpayers.

The Cranham ward Residents’ Group representative added that councillors’ generous allowances should come under scrutiny, adding: “In addition, we should be looking at the £500,000 plus paid each year in special responsibility allowances to councillors to ensure that value for money is obtained and clearly demonstrated.”

Taxpayer’s Alliance spokesman Emma Boon said: “At a time when central Government is saying there has to be cuts you can’t have these town hall fat cats trousering six figure sums.

“Lots of families in Havering will be struggling with the rising cost of living. Council tax has doubled in the last ten yeas, and it doesn’t seem that money is going on better services or for improving the lot of people living in that area.

“Senior officers on six figure salaries have got to be willing to take a pay cut if they are going to have any chance of being taken seriously when they start cutting services.”

The pay information of council chief executives was released on Wednesday by the GMB union. Paul Hayes, GMB Regional Secretary said, “ You have to ask what our elected councillors are doing, voting through such obscene remuneration packages.”

A council spokesman said: “Cheryl is paid a salary that reflects the extent of her responsibilities and is comparable with similar roles in the public sector.”

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