Council pensions and the staff ‘merry-go-round’

December 06, 2010 1:16 PM

There are many people in Britain who are facing redundancy. Many do not know if they will still be working after Christmas. This is the economic reality, and they also know the redundancy payments they will receive will be at a minimum. Companies cannot afford to pay more as they struggle to stay in business. If you work in the public sector, however, it's completely difficult.

Hull City Council abolished the role of Head of Communications and Marketing in September last year, and the incumbent was earning a salary of £65,942. The redundancy payment they received was £109,576. As you can see, this is almost two years' salary. The argument the council uses is it saves a £66K salary and - eventually -  Hull taxpayers will be better off. These type of high payouts go on all the time, but just over a year on, what has happened to this officer?

They did not sit back and watch their redundancy payment dwindle, struggling to find work. After one month, they were working as the interim Head of Communications and Marketing for another council! That job lasted for six months. They immediately jumped from that job to another as an interim senior manager in another council, where they are currently still employed.

I am not naming this person (although it is not difficult to find out who they are) as I do not wish to single one person out. What I am criticising is the 'merry-go-round' in local authorities that costs taxpayers dearly. Strings are never attached when huge amounts of our money are paid out. Former employees are free to pick-up a redundancy payment from one council and jump into another job with a neighbouring council the next day! Many of them also work as consultants and charge exorbitant fees, which nicely tops-up the already generous pension or redundancy payment they have received.

We have called for reform in public sector pensions. To give you two examples, the chief executive of Hull City Council receives a salary of £160K per annum, but when you add our contributions to her pension fund - over £40K - her total remuneration is over £200K! Our most recent Town Hall Rich List (covering 2008/09) shows 6 Hull City Council employees earning above £100k a year. In the 2009/10 accounts (including generous, taxpayer funded pension contributions) this rises to 17. This is completely unsustainable, as our report earlier this year highlighted.

We are never going to bring down government debt (a millstone hanging around the necks of future generations) unless we radically reform public sector pensions. This is urgent, and requires immediate action.There are many people in Britain who are facing redundancy. Many do not know if they will still be working after Christmas. This is the economic reality, and they also know the redundancy payments they will receive will be at a minimum. Companies cannot afford to pay more as they struggle to stay in business. If you work in the public sector, however, it's completely difficult.

Hull City Council abolished the role of Head of Communications and Marketing in September last year, and the incumbent was earning a salary of £65,942. The redundancy payment they received was £109,576. As you can see, this is almost two years' salary. The argument the council uses is it saves a £66K salary and - eventually -  Hull taxpayers will be better off. These type of high payouts go on all the time, but just over a year on, what has happened to this officer?

They did not sit back and watch their redundancy payment dwindle, struggling to find work. After one month, they were working as the interim Head of Communications and Marketing for another council! That job lasted for six months. They immediately jumped from that job to another as an interim senior manager in another council, where they are currently still employed.

I am not naming this person (although it is not difficult to find out who they are) as I do not wish to single one person out. What I am criticising is the 'merry-go-round' in local authorities that costs taxpayers dearly. Strings are never attached when huge amounts of our money are paid out. Former employees are free to pick-up a redundancy payment from one council and jump into another job with a neighbouring council the next day! Many of them also work as consultants and charge exorbitant fees, which nicely tops-up the already generous pension or redundancy payment they have received.

We have called for reform in public sector pensions. To give you two examples, the chief executive of Hull City Council receives a salary of £160K per annum, but when you add our contributions to her pension fund - over £40K - her total remuneration is over £200K! Our most recent Town Hall Rich List (covering 2008/09) shows 6 Hull City Council employees earning above £100k a year. In the 2009/10 accounts (including generous, taxpayer funded pension contributions) this rises to 17. This is completely unsustainable, as our report earlier this year highlighted.

We are never going to bring down government debt (a millstone hanging around the necks of future generations) unless we radically reform public sector pensions. This is urgent, and requires immediate action.

Latest Blogs: