BOROUGH Hall fat cats, the majority of who already earn more than £100,000, were treated to bumper rises last year, despite a slew of Borough Hall service cuts and redundancies.
According to figures compiled by the Taxpayers’ Alliance pressure group, eight high- salaried Bedford Borough Council executives bucked the recession trend at a time when nearly 120 council staff were being lined up for redundancy as part of cost-cutting plans.
Recipients include executive director of adult services Frank Toner, who enjoyed a 12.93 per cent increase in his pay package in the 2010 to 2011 financial year when salary, benefits and pension contributions are taken into account.
The increases also include a 14.24 per cent hike for the director of finance and corporate services, and a 24.03 per cent increase for the operational director who left their post in April 2011.
Chief executive of the council Philip Simpkins was awarded a 15.60 per cent increase while the executive director of environment got 33.26 per cent.
Mr Simpkins’ salary increase represents a part year payment, as he took up his job part way through that financial year.
The huge rise in the executive director of environment’s pay is the result of back pay owed after he took the post of executive director when the council became a unitary authority.
This week Bedford Borough Council defended the increases claiming that they are required by law to contribute to all workers’ pension pots.
A spokesman said: “The council is required by law, under the local government pension scheme, to make an employer contribution (in addition to the employee pension contribution).
“The employer contribution is set at 21.9 per cent.”
Last year Bedford Borough Council launched a public consultation process in a bid to make £36 million worth of government enforced savings over four years.
Cuts approved by the council included introducing Sunday car parking charges, reducing library opening hours and closing the Bunyan Sports Centre.
Robert Oxley, the campaign manager of the Taxpayers’ Alliance , said: “Taxpayers will be astonished that council employees at the top are still getting such a generous deal while so many others face a pay freeze.
“The substantial increase in the size of the pay and perks for senior staff at Bedford Borough Council is in stark contrast to the savings the council must find in coming years.”
Unison, the union that represented Bedford Borough Council workers while they were under threat of redundancy said: “We are surprised and disappointed to hear of such pay awards for senior managers at a time when many of our members are faced with the loss of allowances and increases in the cost of simply getting to work as well as cuts to services and job losses.
“If these figures are correct then someone needs to provide an explanation.”
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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