A Somerset supporter draws our attention to some extravagant expenditure at Taunton Deane Borough Council. Over the last years, they have spent £450,000 of taxpayers’ money subsidising the failing Brewhouse theatre in Taunton. Two years ago it lost its Art Council funding, but still it continued to employ 20 full time staff and 15 part time staff to manage a 350-seat theatre that rarely sold more than 100 seats at a time.
Despite having nearly half a million pounds of taxpayers’ money poured into its coffers, the Brewhouse theatre finally went into administration four months ago—and if that wasn’t bad enough, the council now wants to spend more taxpayers’ money buying the building. And yet, at the same time as it is dishing out public money to support a failing theatre, it has been less than enthusiastic over plans for a privately-funded theatre to open in the town! Continue Reading
Councillors on Camden Council have disputed the numbers for their council in this year’s Town Hall Rich List, which was compiled using the council’s own accounts. This isn’t unusual: every year a few councils object to the figures and they’re usually mistaken, most frequently because they object to the idea of employer’s pension contributions being included in the total remuneration funded by taxpayers. Employers’ pension contributions should be included because it is part of the financial reward that senior staff get for their work.
Council leader Sarah Hayward repeatedly called the TPA’s spokesman a liar on Channel 5 News, stating that the number should have been 16. Theo Blackwell then blogged that the “actual figure is 16 (or 24 however you count it)”. Hayward then took to Twitter and suggested that the correct number could be 25. They can’t get their story straight. Continue Reading
Sainsbury’s boss Justin King has criticised unfairness in the tax system, contrasting the bill for high street operators with their online counterparts. The supermarket giant’s chief executive also complained that the benefit from falling rates of Corporation Tax has been wiped out by rises in other taxes:
For every £1 we have benefited from the reduction in corporation tax we have incurred more than £2 of other taxes, in particular business rates and employers’ national insurance. Continue Reading
We are proud to present the seventh Town Hall Rich List, the Who’s Who of senior local government executives which details the job titles, full remuneration and many of the names of all local council employees whose remuneration exceeds £100,000.
Praised in the past by politicians on both sides of the House of Commons, the Town Hall Rich List remains the definitive guide to senior executive pay in local government, making it a vital tool for taxpayers wanting to judge which authorities are delivering the best value for money.
Since the first edition in 2007, the number of senior staff appearing on the Town Hall Rich List has soared. This is the first time that the TPA has reported a drop in the number on remuneration of more than £100,000, largely because of the considerable number of redundancy packages paid out in 2010-11, which increased total remuneration for that year. The welcome fact that many councils have made their data more accessible and transparent has also had an effect on this figure.
However, executive pay in many town halls across the UK continues to be insulated from economic reality, despite the urgent need to find savings and the fact that many councils claim that they have insufficient cash to fund frontline services.
The key findings of the research are:
Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:
“It is good news that the number of senior council staff making more than £100,000 a year is finally falling, although that may only be because many authorities have finished paying eye-watering redundancy bills.
“Sadly, too many local authorities are still increasing the number of highly paid staff on their payroll, some of whom are given hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation just to move from one public sector job to another. Residents won’t be impressed if their council pleads poverty when it is demanding more and more Council Tax, only then to spend it creating more town hall tycoons.”
Islington Council has sparked controversy by spending £38,307, or £339 pounds each, on 113 banners advertising its borough-wide 20mph speed limit. But that’s not the worst of it—they paid way too much for the banners in the first place!
The 20mph banners are placed high up on lampposts on main routes through the borough which are not controlled by TfL, and along which there is already a plethora of 20mph speed limit signs as well as road roundels. It is difficult to see what these signs add, other than another distraction for drivers who will have to take their eyes of the road to read them. The Council claims the signs are ‘essential’ if drivers are to be made properly aware of the new limit, but I cannot think of another instance anywhere in the UK in which the imposition of a speed limit has had to be advertised by anything other than the normal speed limit signs. Continue Reading