Fat cats under fire for getting paid more than Prime Minister as borough faces frontline cuts

Bedford Borough Council says it must cut frontline service to balance the books.
Bedford Borough Council says it must cut frontline service to balance the books.

Council chiefs have defended the mega salaries it pays some top level staff as harsh cuts to public services are being drawn up.

Bedford Borough Council has declared it is facing financial crisis and says it has exhausted back office savings and must now start slashing frontline services.

But data from the Taxpayers’ Alliance reveals that during 2013/14, the council paid one employee more than £200,000, four staff more than £150,000 each and 14 workers more than £100,000 each.

The highest earner – director of finance and corporate services Trevor Roff, who was on a whooping £216,293 – no longer works for the council and it is understood that some other high earners have also since departed. Today, the biggest bread winner is chief executive Philip Simpkins, who earns between £170,000 and £175,000 – that’s more than Prime Minister David Cameron whose income adds up to £142,500. Chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, Jonathan Isaby, said: “Bedford’s taxpayers have a right to feel aggrieved that council tax continues to rise and services are being cut back and yet there still seems to be enough cash left to pay some very large salaries.

“Money is tight and the council must redouble their efforts to deliver value for money for the taxpayer in light of these bumper pay packets.”

Other top earners at Bedford Borough include executive director of environment and sustainable communities Steward Briggs, on £130,000 to £135,000 and director of children’s services Kevin Crompton, who’s on £125,000 to 130,000.

A council spokesman said the number of employees on big incomes has been halved in recent years. Over the last three years, the number of directly employed staff paid £100,000 has reduced by 50 per cent from 10 to five.

The council must plug a £25million funding gap by 2019. Initial proposals to save cash include scrapping council-run summer holiday play schemes, closing public toilets, axing funding for speed cameras and cancelling the town centre Christmas fair.