New Research: Public Sector Rich List 2009


As politicians call for a pay freeze, public sector executives get a 5.4% pay rise


In 2008-09 at least 806 people received remuneration packages of £150,000 or more a year 

8 people in the public sector earned more than £1 million a year, compared with 4 people in 2007-08

Gordon Brown is the 324th highest paid person in the public sector

All political parties are now publicly committed to tackling the problem of excessive pay for senior public sector staff, responding to taxpayers' anger at public sector fat cats. In November 2006 the TaxPayers’ Alliance produced the first ever list of the most highly paid executives in the public sector. Now in its fourth edition, the Public Sector Rich List is not only more detailed and comprehensive, it also feeds into a public debate that has changed markedly over the past eighteen months. 

Harriet Harman recently blocked a £185,000 salary for the new Chief Executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. George Osborne has said that “anyone who wishes to pay a public servant more than the Prime Minister will have to put it before the Chancellor”.  Vince Cable has said that “pay restraint should start at the top”. It is important that this rhetoric is matched with a serious crack down on inflated pay at the top of the public sector and rewards for failure, and that taxpayers can look forward to a new era of transparency, accountability and restraint.

Read the full report here (PDF).  

Key findings

•    At least 806 people receiving remuneration packages of £150,000 or more a year in 2008-09 across 358 government departments, quangos, public corporations, other public bodies and nationalised industries. For reference, there were 124 people earning more than £150,000 in this year’s Town Hall Rich List which covered 2007-08. 

•    A key difference with this year’s Rich List is that it includes the top employees from the state controlled banks. The most highly paid person in the public sector this year is therefore Mark Fisher of the Royal Bank of Scotland, whose remuneration was £1,388,000.

•    Of the 806 people on this year's list, 30 are bank employees.

•    Adam Crozier of Royal Mail is the highest paid non-bank employee in the public sector, earning £1,309,000.

•    Gordon Brown is the 324th highest paid person in the public sector.

•    The average total remuneration of the 806 people on the list is almost £225,990 per annum.  This works out at over £4,700 per week.

•    By comparison, according to the Institute of Directors, a managing director of a private organisation with a turnover of between £50 million and £500 million could expect to earn £141,440 and an executive director £87,000.

•    Even without the bankers, the average remuneration package on our list is £209,151.

•    The BBC has at least 53 people on £150,000 or over. Transport for London has 50 members of staff on or above £150,000. In comparison, the Treasury, the main Government department responsible for tackling the recession, has a modest 3 people in the Rich List.

•    There are 8 people in the public sector who earn more than £1 million a year, compared with 4 people last year.

•    There are 35 people in the public sector earning above £500,000 a year compared with 21 last year.

•    There are 120 people earning above £250,000 a year compared with 88 last year.

•    The average pay rise of the people with remuneration for 2007-08 and 2008-09 is 5.4 per cent. This is compared to a pay rise of 2.7 per cent for a nurse and 2.3 per cent for a teacher.

•    Because of extensive work in other areas of the public sector, the total number of people on the Public Sector Rich List 2009 is not comparable with previous editions. For a full explanation, please see key findings in the main report.  

Download the full report here (PDF).

John O’Connell, Policy Analyst at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“Executive pay in the public sector is completely divorced from the reality of Britain’s fiscal crisis. Ordinary families, struggling to make ends meet in the recession, don’t pay their taxes to fund gold-plated deals for public sector fat cats. All parties now agree that excessive pay packages must be tackled but the time for action is now, not next year. Taxpayers want genuine transparency, accountability and restraint in setting top public sector pay.”

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