New Research: Public Sector Rich List 2008

November 23, 2008 1:08 AM


  • Details of 387 public sector employees earning over £150,000
  • 194 public sector employees earn more than the Prime Minister 
  • 4 people on the public payroll earned more than £1m last year 
  • Senior executives enjoyed an average remuneration increase of 10.9% from 2006-07 to 2007-08


Now in its third edition, the TaxPayers' Alliance today publishes the Public Sector Rich List 2008, the definitive guide to all those in the public sector with remuneration packages over £150,000. Against a background of impending recession and at a time when the financial crisis is hitting ordinary families harder every day, this year's list is the biggest ever, exposing 387 public employees receiving City levels of remuneration from a record 140 public sector organisations. The report also details the top ten rewards for failure in the public sector, the 10 well-paid officials from the FSA, Treasury and Bank of England who oversaw the financial system and failed to prevent the financial crisis, and lists 24 executives who have received sizeable financial rewards despite presiding over embarrassing data loss scandals.

Topping the list at £1,244,000 is the head of Network Rail, Ian Coucher, while second and third place go to Adam Crozier at Royal Mail (£1,242,000) and Andy Duncan at Channel 4 (£1,211,000) respectively. Also in the top ten are employees of British Nuclear Fuels, the FSA, the BBC and Adam Applegarth, the controversial Chief Executive of Northern Rock. To read the full report click here (PDF).

Key Findings

  • There are 387 people receiving remuneration packages of £150,000 or more a year across 140 government departments, quangos, other public bodies and public corporations, up from 300 people on the 2007 Public Sector Rich List. (Note that this excludes local government, who are published on their own TPA Rich List every March. The 2008 Town Hall Rich List identified 88 people earning over £150,000 a year.)
  • There are 4 people in the public sector who earn more than £1 million a year, up from 1 person earning above £1 million last year.
  • There are 21 people in the public sector earning above £500,000 a year, up from 17 on last year's list.
  • There are 88 people earning above £250,000 a year, up from 66 on last year's list.
  • There are 194 people earning more than the Prime Minister, whose salary is £189,994, up from 142 on last year's list.
  • The 387 people on our list had an average pay rise of 10.9 per cent between 2006-07 and 2007-08. This is three times average earnings growth (including bonuses) across the country, which is currently around 3.5 per cent.
  • The average total remuneration of the 387 people on the list is almost £240,000 per annum. This works out at over £4,600 a week. Although many people on the list are likely to work longer, based on a 35-hour week, this is equal to over £130 an hour, or around £2.15 a minute.
  • These remuneration packages can be compared with a soldier earning around £20,000, a nurse earning £23,000, the average Chief Executive of a small company earning £65,000, and the average Chief Executive of a medium-sized company earning £122,000.
  • The 10 most highly paid people in the public sector earn almost £1 million on average, which is around 50 times the amount earned by someone starting out as a police officer, nurse or soldier.
  • The report features a list of the top 10 rewards for failure, including highly paid officials from HMRC (which lost 25 million people's personal data); the Financial Services Authority (which presided over the worst financial crisis since 1930); Northern Rock; the QCA and other organisations which have failed the public.
  • The report includes a list of 10 people working for the three bodies responsible for regulating the financial system – the FSA, the Treasury and the Bank of England - who have overseen the financial crisis.  Their remuneration packages average almost £400,000 per annum.
  • A special list is also included of 24 executives who have presided over embarrassing losses of personal data over the past year.  Their average remuneration package was over £190,000 per annum.

Read the full report here (PDF). 


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

“While ordinary families are suffering in the financial crisis, the public sector elite are enjoying record pay packages. Far too often, senior officials get massive pay rises and generous bonuses despite serious failures on their watch. Where someone is earning huge amounts at taxpayers’ expense they must be accountable to the people who pay the bill and who rely on the services they run. We all deserve to know how our money is being spent, and people should have the right to decide if they are getting value for money. Public services will never improve if people are being rewarded for failure.”

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