Islington still in top 20 in country for top council payouts

The council have been criticised over the number of high wage packages.

The council have been criticised over the number of high wage packages. - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

A fresh row has erupted over council fat cats’ salaries after figures emerged showing Islington remains in the top 20 across the country for top payouts.

The figures also reveal Islington Council is in the top ten out of more than 30 London boroughs for the numbers of people it pays £100,000 or more a year.

Despite cutting numbers of people earning six-figure salaries from 23 to 20 within a year, Islington has failed to slash pay as fast as Hackney, which cut from 21 to 11 in the same time period.

It means Islington is 16th in the country and 8th in London league tables for the number of people it pays the top pay bracket – something council leader Catherine West said needs to be reduced further.

She said: “If we look from 2010 the big one is the chief executive, which has gone down from £220,000.

“The experts told me we would never get someone for cheaper than that, so we tried for £160,000 and we have a very good chief executive, so the gap between highest and lowest paid is also now much smaller.

“And we are slowly working through that list and we have reduced the ratio from about 1:20 to about 1:10 in terms of the highest to the lowest earners who are getting the living wage.

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“However, for these 20 still earning £100,000, that needs to be addressed in the next few spending rounds.

“Equally we need good officers in these difficult times because we need experienced officers to take difficult decisions.

“Given the challenges we have I would like to make that lower, but we need good staff. I imagine when we do this review in a couple of years’ time, I think we will see it much lower.”

News of remaining in the top 20 across the country comes at a time when the council has cut its public spending budget from £340 million in 2010 to about £220million now.

The figures also show neighbouring borough Hackney has one of the best records for cutting back on top pay, having reduced the number of six-figure salaries from 21 to 11.

Meanwhile Camden Council has the highest number of people earning more than £100,000 in the entire country, which stands at 40 having dropped from 42, according to the latest figures for 2011/12.