The Tax Payers Alliance have published the latest in their ‘council spending uncovered’ series. Their last outing, you may recall, showed that Bristol City Council’s communications budget has increased by 275% in the last ten years and is now costing council tax payers in excess of £4m every year.
This time the alliance has turned their attention to middle management pay in local authorities and specifically those earning more than £50k a year.
And they have uncovered (pdf) the fact that the number of Bristol City Council officers earning in excess of £50k a year has jumped from just 12 in 1997 to 102 in 2007. That’s over eight times as many bureaucrats taking home top salaries courtesy of us, the council tax payer, and we are now paying out £6.7m every year on these hugely inflated salaries.
The growth in top-earners at the council is unprecedented, even accounting for inflation and economic growth. In the wider economy the number of people earning more than £50,000 has increased by less than three times over the same ten years.
And what do we get for our money? We’re told the council has to pay top whack to get the best people and compete with business. But their performance suggests otherwise.
Local authority controlled services like education and transport are pisspoor, while it seems senior officers in social services are congenitally incapable of managing budgets. They ran up a debt of £18m just over two years ago and now they’re proposing to run an in-house home care service that they haven’t even costed.
What exactly are we paying for?