New Research: COUNCIL SPENDING UNCOVERED: COUNCILS EMPLOY 22% MORE MIDDLE MANAGERS THAN LAST YEAR

January 22, 2009 11:23 PM


  • The average local authority employed almost 22 per cent more middle managers in 2007-08 than 2006-07.

  • The number of staff on £50,000-plus remuneration packages has risen from 31,000 to almost 37,000 in one year.

  • The total bill for those council staff on £50,000-plus was nearly £2.4 billion last year – up more than 20 per cent since 2006-07.

  • The average local authority spent well over £5 million employing people on £50,000-plus remuneration packages last year.

  • The report includes individual data on almost every single council in the country.



Following the first Council Spending Uncovered report, which revealed a £430 million town hall publicity machine, the second paper in the series examines the increase in town hall spending on middle and senior managers – those being paid at least £50,000 per annum.  The data in local authority accounts implies that councils have hired a new army of middle and senior management whose pay and benefits packages grow faster than the economy-wide average.

Whilst in a growing economy wages would normally increase above the rate of inflation, this town hall phenomenon is in a different league.  The increase in the number of local authority employees being paid more than £50,000 per annum has far surpassed the rate of increase in the economy as a whole, and with a recession now taking hold that trend has become unsustainable.

To read the full report, click here (PDF).

Key Findings


  • The average local authority is employing almost 22 per cent more staff on £50,000-plus remuneration packages than it did in 2006-07; 66 people in 2006-07 and 81 people in 2007-08. The number of staff on £50,000-plus has risen from 31,000 to almost 37,000 in one year. 

  • The average local authority spent well over £5 million employing people on £50,000-plus remuneration packages last year.

  • The total bill for those council staff on £50,000-plus remuneration packages was nearly £2.4 billion last year – up more than 20 percent since 2006-07.

  • Over the past eleven years, the average local authority has increased the number of people on £50,000-plus packages dramatically; an average of 7 people in 1996-97 has increased to an average of 81 people in 2007-08. This is an eleven-fold increase. By contrast, in the economy as a whole, the number of people earning more than £50,000 has increased by only 3.2 times over the past ten years.

  • The remuneration of middle and senior management in local authorities is racing past that of MPs.  There were 15,388 middle and senior managers being paid at least £60,000 last year in local government – the salary of MPs has been £63,291 since April 2008.



Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“In the private sector thousands of people are losing their jobs, yet councils are better staffed and better paid than ever.  Councils are ignoring economic reality and simply recruiting more managers and handing out more pay rises than taxpayers can afford. Council tax bills are cripplingly high, and town halls must change their ways to bring the bill down."


  • The average local authority employed almost 22 per cent more middle managers in 2007-08 than 2006-07.

  • The number of staff on £50,000-plus remuneration packages has risen from 31,000 to almost 37,000 in one year.

  • The total bill for those council staff on £50,000-plus was nearly £2.4 billion last year – up more than 20 per cent since 2006-07.

  • The average local authority spent well over £5 million employing people on £50,000-plus remuneration packages last year.

  • The report includes individual data on almost every single council in the country.



Following the first Council Spending Uncovered report, which revealed a £430 million town hall publicity machine, the second paper in the series examines the increase in town hall spending on middle and senior managers – those being paid at least £50,000 per annum.  The data in local authority accounts implies that councils have hired a new army of middle and senior management whose pay and benefits packages grow faster than the economy-wide average.

Whilst in a growing economy wages would normally increase above the rate of inflation, this town hall phenomenon is in a different league.  The increase in the number of local authority employees being paid more than £50,000 per annum has far surpassed the rate of increase in the economy as a whole, and with a recession now taking hold that trend has become unsustainable.

To read the full report, click here (PDF).

Key Findings


  • The average local authority is employing almost 22 per cent more staff on £50,000-plus remuneration packages than it did in 2006-07; 66 people in 2006-07 and 81 people in 2007-08. The number of staff on £50,000-plus has risen from 31,000 to almost 37,000 in one year. 

  • The average local authority spent well over £5 million employing people on £50,000-plus remuneration packages last year.

  • The total bill for those council staff on £50,000-plus remuneration packages was nearly £2.4 billion last year – up more than 20 percent since 2006-07.

  • Over the past eleven years, the average local authority has increased the number of people on £50,000-plus packages dramatically; an average of 7 people in 1996-97 has increased to an average of 81 people in 2007-08. This is an eleven-fold increase. By contrast, in the economy as a whole, the number of people earning more than £50,000 has increased by only 3.2 times over the past ten years.

  • The remuneration of middle and senior management in local authorities is racing past that of MPs.  There were 15,388 middle and senior managers being paid at least £60,000 last year in local government – the salary of MPs has been £63,291 since April 2008.



Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“In the private sector thousands of people are losing their jobs, yet councils are better staffed and better paid than ever.  Councils are ignoring economic reality and simply recruiting more managers and handing out more pay rises than taxpayers can afford. Council tax bills are cripplingly high, and town halls must change their ways to bring the bill down."

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