More county council officers earn £50k-plus despite budget cuts
THE number of Derbyshire County Council officers paid £50,000 or more last year increased despite budget cutbacks, according to the TaxPayers' Alliance.
However, the authority continues to have considerably fewer employees on large salaries than other councils of a similar size.
Latest figures suggest Derbyshire County Council had 150 staff on £50k-plus in 2011-12 – eleven more than in the previous financial year. The cost to taxpayers was £9.2 million.
In comparison, Kent County Council had almost 500 staff on similar salaries.
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At a cost of £13.3 million, Derby City Council had 214 staff on £50,000 or more – despite having a smaller budget than bosses at County Hall.
The TaxPayers' Alliance said it had concerns that Derbyshire was paying more staff than before upwards of £50,000.
The pressure group's chief executive Matthew Sinclair said: "It is incredible that the council has increased spending on high earning staff this year when it needs savings."
But the county council's chief executive Nick Hodgson, who earns £152,000 a year, defended the authority's payroll. He said the increase in staff earning £50k-plus was down to existing employees moving within the pay band to recognise their years of service at the council.
Mr Hodgson said: "We're the county's largest employer with 39,000 staff and we're a top performing council.
"We provide good value for money and have not increased our council tax share for the third year running.
"Compared with many other county councils, we have fewer managers earning over £50k and salaries of our chief officers are in the lowest 25% compared with other public sector organisations.
Derby City Council also defended its record. Nikki Gibbons, head of human resources, said: "We keep all expenditure under constant review, including salaries paid to our senior staff.
"During 2011-12, we were able to significantly reduce the number of staff earning over £50,000 without any adverse impact on delivery of frontline services."
The TaxPayers' Alliance report said Erewash Borough Council had nine staff on £50k or more. South Derbyshire District Council had five, Amber Valley Borough Council had six and Derbyshire Dales District Council had eight.