Drop in six-figure earners at Sunderland City Council – but six still make more than £100,000

Sunderland Civic Centre.'City of Sunderland Council
Sunderland Civic Centre.'City of Sunderland Council
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THE number of workers being paid more than £100,000 at Sunderland’s council has dropped by more than half.

The Town Hall Rich List is put together by the TaxPayers’ Alliance and details all the council staff across the UK whose salary reached six figures.

The latest figures, for 2011/2012 and 2012/2013, were put together after Freedom of Information requests by the campaign group.

Nationally, the number of employees receiving remuneration in excess of £100,000 last year has fallen to 2,181 from 2,295, compared to the previous 12 months.

In Sunderland, the number paid more than £100,000 dropped from 14 to six, with its chief executive Dave Smith, paid £199,627.

He also received £5,336 in other payments and £26,694 was made by the council in pension contributions.

Council leader, Coun Paul Watson, said: “Sunderland City Council is responsible for managing a budget of more than £600million and delivering hundreds of services to more than 280,000 residents.

“The city council continues to provide many highly-rated services, deliver investment and job creation, and has received recognition from its inspectors that it continues to offer value for money.

“Councils have major social and legal responsibilities, and senior salaries should reflect this.”

Durham County Council – the region’s largest authority – has 19 people receiving pay in excess of £100,000, the highest in the North East. That figure has reduced from 22 people the year before.

Its highest-paid officer was chief executive George Garlick, who earned £200,000, with another £529 claimed in expenses and £26,200 contributed by the council towards his pension.

Don McLure, corporate director of resources at Durham County Council, said: “We are the largest authority in the North East and employ more than 17,000 people.

“The number of employees in this particular pay bracket reduced to 18 in 2013/14.

“Figures quoted for 2012/13 include one-off redundancy payments to a number of staff, as a direct result of our commitment to proportionately reduce management costs by at least 30 per cent in line with our medium term financial plan.

“The public sector is facing very difficult times and it is essential that we have experienced senior managers in place, who can come up with innovative solutions to the issues and financial constraints that we are currently dealing with.

“In order to attract high-calibre people into these senior roles, it is important that we offer competitive salaries in line with other public sector organisations of a similar size.”

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “It’s good news that the number of senior council staff making more than £100,000 a year is falling.

“Taxpayers expect their council to be filling potholes, not pay packets.”