Nov 2008 23
  • 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.”

  • A Doctor in The North West

    I am paid enough to be on that list, as are many many NHS doctors, the public mustn’t be fooled into thinking that £150k salaries in the public sector are rare, they are really quite common.
    Ever sine the new consultant contract came into force the NHS has been losing money like the home office lose data, and we can blame (or thank) John Reid for that

  • anon

    Surely Paul Coen, Chief Executive at the LGA, is on more than £150k?

  • Steve Robson

    You people really do take the biscuit. you believe in unbridled capitalism despite its clear failure and its current recession. The failures who receive huge rewards for leading that do not get criticised by you, until they are nationalised and become part of the public sector like Northern Rock Execs.
    Are you all really so stupid that you don’t see the logical fallacy of your arguments (read Karl Popper). You equate the public sector with failure and thereby conclude that anyone well paid in the public sector is a failure. it doesn’t actually matter to you what they actually do.
    The reality is that countries with strong public sectors are better places to live than those with weak public sectors. You should try living in 19th century England or many developing countries now. it is because of the public sector that public health is so much better, that crime is much reduced, that there is no longer a smog over london etc etc etc. THIS IS NOT FAILURE, IT IS SUCCESS. It was laissez faire capitalism that failed, not the mixed economy of today.
    That being said, your list is ridiculous. Many of the top names, including virtually all the top 10 are the CEO’s of quasi commercial organisations, who if privatised would earn the same or much more. The BBC pays far less, for example, than ITV and produces nearly all the best programmes. That too is not failure and one badly handled minor incident (Brandrossgate) does not constitiute failure either.
    Especially at the top, these are not real public service salaries. In fact your list actually demonstrates the much higher pay of commercial executives in either sector compared to real public servants, who do have to address complex problems however easy you and the Daily Mail think their life actually is.

  • Artiford Marsh

    oh no! people with important jobs like running the country/councils are paid a lot – meaning they are more likely to be competant and good at their jobs. the problem is they are not paid nearly enough to stop many from seeking the 4 times as much they can expect in the private sector.

  • Allan Richards

    I note 7 out of 8 British Waterway directors are on the Rich List.
    See my blog for what one of them does for his bonus.

  • Pauline

    The problem is not only over paid public sector workers but their very high pension pots. We in the private sector cannot ever hope to match the unlimited resources the public sector uses for their final/index linked pensions. So why continue to pay UK tax only to find we in the private sector cannot retire anytime soon as our very high taxes are funding public sector pensions.
    P.S. Dear Steve, When you refer to people as stupid you only confirm your point is not valid.

  • Steve Robson

    I didn’t say anyone was stupid, I just asked if they were. Actually one of the reasons the TPA is fascinating is that they aren’t really stupid, more manipulative I suspect. They will know that even a 30% reduction in these so called rich list salaries and those in local government would actually save almost nothing in terms of state spending. They surely also know that a 30% cut would decimate the leadership of the public sector as many people would just leave. That in turn would threaten the efficiency savings that are made (nowhere near enough for the TPA, but still billions) and that the end result would almost certainly be higher costs.
    I know they know this because they are not stupid, yet they persist in the argument. Why? That is the fascination, though I think its just about manipulation (spin ironically) and grabbing media headlines. The goal of the manipulation being political power and to increase the wealth of the rich (some of whom are listed as prominent supporters). It is a fascinating trick, manufacture some pretend rich people to use as a weapon to benefit real rich people.
    I do think pensions are a real issue however and a solution is required, but I do think also that it is not the fault of the scheme members and the solution must take account of them too. Many of these people are low paid and have patchy contribution records (often part time women) and they too should not be the victim of some TPA spin which pretends that public sector pensioners are all rich.

  • Mark

    This report is mainly just headline grabbing but if it gets public and media attention to the TPA then so be it. Sadly neither political party sees reducing taxes as something sensible to do but the crows will come home to roost shortly.

  • Martin Fielding

    On top of these benefits, we should not lose sight of the appalling and unnecessarily high cost of travel whilst on duty.
    Civil Servants including Service Officers who travel on duty receive First Class Rail Warrants which are charged to the taxpayer by the rail companies at the highest rate of fare for the journey.For example a Standard Off Peak Return Fare from London to Leeds costs £129.50. A First Class Fare for the same journey costs £334. This is what we, as the taxpayers, are paying.
    It requires only a directive to remedy this.

  • chris

    We have contacted the Taunton Deane election officer (twice) asking for the names of the election agents for the liberal democrats in 1995 and before.
    but we have been told that this information is not kept? Can anyone please help? thank you

  • Jules

    I cannot believe the comments of Mr Robson.
    The way plublic money is spent is completely and utterly distorted and has been for several decades. How do I know? Look around fools! Every year tax of all kinds rises, and yet every year public services deteriorate, police bungaling emergency calls, nhs trying to avoid diagnosing peoples illnesses quickly so as to avoid them coming into the system and costing money, doctors earning 150,000 a year and being ungrateful for it!Poor regulation of capitalism resulting in the collapse of some of our biggest capitalist institutions…need I go on? talk about efficiency savings!!!

  • Stevie

    The latest saga of MP’s expenses again shows they don’t live in the real world , Take the MP for lincoln – Gillian Merron trying to defend using Taxpayers money to pay for an accountant because as she said “its to make sure she pays the right amount of Tax”
    The annoying thing there is why should that be classed as expenses , that should be paid for out of her own salary.
    or should all small ( & large for that matter)or anyone that uses accountants be able to claim back their accountants costs from the Gouvernment.
    MP’s earn at least double what the ordinary worker gets .
    Its about time they woke up and smelt the coffee & stopped being money grabbing idiots

  • The Cynical Eye

    I do think Mr Robson is living in his own special world ..I work in the private sector and have contributed heavily for more than 20 years and feel these public servants do actually have to justify their existence.
    The public sector costs are spiralling out of control as service levels crash and burn. Should I feel grateful that I’m funding glorious pensions of these well heeled public servants?
    To blame capitalism for the recession is as
    blind as it is banal. Brown and Blair deliberately kept interest rates low to
    prop up the housing market in a house obsessed Britain. A bet that back fired
    badly. In the past decade national debt spiralled in tandem with personal debt.
    These numbers were public and the repurcussions obvious to anyone that bothered
    to look, including myself. So either Brown and Blair were stupid or their actions
    were deliberate. Your choice?
    The other main failing of course has been the use of increased spending as a political tool, whilst the money was actually
    directed at pen pushing non jobs and not at the point of use or need. The NHS is a
    classic example of this where the money has been spent not on medical provision
    but on paying report generators and performance monitors. My brother in law is a GP and complains of this constantly.
    Although Doctor in the North is nearly correct..I believe the median GP earnings in the UK to be earer £120k; if you have a problem you are far better off paying privately because frankly that’s where the best doctors are. The UK doesn’t even make the top 40 list of countries in terms of hospital beds per unit of population…’the NHS is so good that no country has copied it’
    I believe the numbers shown also exclude those higher earners in local authorities where £250k basics are
    not unusual. To suggest that these people could multiply their earnings in the
    private sector as Messr March has done, is a farce. I would love to run a ‘business’ where the earnings and costs are known in advance; I could model that in an afternoon. The reason why high earners stay in the public sector is that they realise they cannot earn more elsewhere. The only decision they have to make is how much the local tax (council tax) has to increase to cover the funding shortfall from Gordon Brown.
    I also laugh at the fools that wish to solely blame those capitalists in the City. If Joe Public had kicked the habit of borrowing beyond his means then the situation wouldn’t even exist.
    Keeping to the topic: The Bank of England’s Mervin King; not beyond blame too perhaps, had a £500k+ contribution to his pension this year alone taking the pot to £5.7million!! And what of Hector Sants at the FSA? The list sadly is endless.
    Shouldn’t the question be: Should private sector tax payers take the financial
    hit for civil servant incompetence whilst they Lord it up at our expense?
    Hello guvnor, need some dodgy bonds from that dodgy Sovereign, going cheap? (because
    they’ll get cheaper)

  • Bob Stott

    Cutting across many of the issues faced by the Public and Private sector, each with its own monotonously regular stories of excess and greed, is the depressing failure of the leaders in both sectors to understand the reality of leading in the 21st century.
    A century in which the old ways of working are totally inadequate and not (in their jargon) fit for purpose!
    A century in which ‘instant’ solutions, with monotonous regularity – become part of the problem and mediocre performance is dressed up as excellence and rewarded accordingly – bonuses for failure.
    It is time the spotlight was turned on the battalions of consultants and business schools and quangos that are supposedly providing ‘help’ to leaders in both sectors but in reality are demonstrably not!
    At the same time reflect on those awarding bodies that provide glowing four star references – recognition that is not rooted in reality and any attempt at ‘objective measurement – Ofsted being just one example.
    This is a depressing ‘game’- listen to the Today programme and see how many times you say to yourself ‘I thought we had solved that problem.’
    Solutions become part of the problem and the problem needs solving again because of a failure to think with a necessary degree of complexity coupled with a failure to understand the enormous difficulty and complexity of bringing about change?
    A Case Study.
    Rhetorical question 1
    What is the change process that has been put in place to bring about the required radical cultural change in the financial sector?
    Rhetorical Question 2
    What chance do the current programmes of reform espoused by the political parties have of success without a cultural change process?
    Rhetorical Question 3
    What chance would I have as a whistleblower of maintaining employment in Government that is pathologically against expressions of reality?
    As employees, citizens or voters we face the reality that social systems change slowly whereas we are in the middle of an information and technological revolution that is changing our lives radically and the gap between the two is getting bigger all of the time – look around and you will see people becoming more and more disorientated with the speed of social and economic change.
    Change we expect leaders to help us address!
    A glimmer of hope – the reality and truth expressed by many of the House of Commons Select Committees across a whole range of issues – mandatory reading for leaders in both the public and private sectors.
    Bob Stott

  • john

    Higher taxes for higher earners is part of the solution. It would not stop them earning huge salaries (and indeed their salaries would go up to compensate for the taxes) BUT it would put them under a big spotlight. Then if they mess up they are more likely to be pushed out. Never forget that these type of people ARE corrupt and selfserving.

  • Swut Raho

    “Government exists to service itself”…the Prince of Vanilla

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