Our last Town Hall Rich List revealed that Birmingham City Council Chief Executive, Stephen Hughes, enjoyed a very healthy 18.2% pay increase between 2006/7 and 2007/8 and last week the Birmingham Post reported that he’s now a member of the “£200,000+ per year club”.
So how exactly has Mr. Hughes earned a rise that puts his total remuneration in the £200,000 – £209,999 bracket, netting him a cool £3,900 per week? Well that remains entirely unclear, especially when the Audit Commission recently slashed the council’s star rating from a three to a two. Like we see all over the country at different government bodies and local authorities, pay is entirely unrelated to performance and taxpayers must cough up for the predictable and inflated pay rise year on year regardless of whether they’ve seen any improvement in services.
Perhaps more pertinent is just how insensitive such a salary hike is at a time when people are losing their jobs and taking pay cuts all over the city. In just 2006 this Chief Executive was on £175,000 and it appears that since then increases in his total remuneration have been unstoppable and whilst the city council have kept to a fairly repectable “low rise” in terms of council tax, keeping it at 1.9% for the past three years, it still means that residents have had to dig deeper whilst more money goes to top up already hefty salaries.
Councils are really going to have to reassess their apparent policy of bumping up executive salaries year on year regardless of whether these people are producing results, because MPs have opened our eyes and there’s a feeling of real resentment amongst the public who are utterly fed-up of shelling out to line the pockets of those who class themselves as public servants.