Ten takeaways from Town Hall Rich List 2024

By William Yarwood, Media Campaign Manager

We have recently released the 17th edition of our annual Town Hall Rich List. This piece of research reveals the top bureaucrats and council bosses who have been receiving hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayer money over the last financial year.

Let’s look at 10 takeaways from our Town Hall Rich List 2024:

1. Councils constantly complain about having no money but our research proves that it isn’t as bad as they are making it out to be.

The prevailing narrative is that local councils simply have ‘no money’ and that without an injection of cash from Westminster many of them face bankruptcy. It’s touted that what is needed is £4bn from taxpayers to bridge the funding gap currently plaguing council cheque books. The reality is that despite complaints and finger pointing, our research shows that there is plenty of cash swimming around. Residents will ask whether  it’s falling into the pockets of council bosses rather than going towards vital public services.

2. The number of council bosses receiving over £150,000 in total remuneration is the highest since the Town Hall Rich List began and for the first time we’re looking specifically at the number of them who have received over £200,000.

We’ve been doing the Town Hall Rich List since 2007 and back then there were
64 council employees earning over £150,000, this now stands at 829. That’s an over 1000 per cent increase! But council bosses are raking in so much that we’ve now had to include for the first time a specific mention of those who’ve received over £200,000 with a whopping 175 receiving this remuneration. 

3. Scotland council bosses have received almost a quarter of a million in bonuses over the last financial year.

Scotland councils have been busy dishing out council boss bonuses with the top bonus being received totalling £72,280. Out of the top 10 highest bonuses that council bosses have received, Scottish bosses have taken 7 out of 10 spaces on the list and all top 5 spaces too.

4. London tops our regional list with 672 council bosses receiving more than £100,000 in total remuneration. 

London continues its record as the region with the highest number of council bosses receiving more than £100,000 in total remuneration, with this number jumping up by 89 from last year’s Town Hall Rich List. Westminster in particular stands out with 60 of their overall employees receiving this amount.

5. More council bosses than ever have a salary higher than the Prime Minister.

188 council bosses had a higher salary than the Prime Minister with this figure increasing to an eye-watering 557 when considering total remuneration. To put this into context, the PM had a salary entitlement of £164,951 in 2022-23. Of course the PM’s salary doesn’t include plenty of perks, including two taxpayer-funded residences.

6. Hampshire wins the top spot with the highest remunerated council boss.

With £120,133 in salary, £121,203 in compensation and a platinum pension payout of £409,832, Hampshire takes the gold for the highest remunerated council boss with all of this money totalling in at £651,158. No wonder Hampshire are facing an £82m cash shortfall if this is how they pay!

7. Southend-on-Sea had a council boss with the highest base salary of £299,294.

Coming in at £299,294, Southend-on-Sea’s ‘Interim Executive Director for Neighbourhoods and Environment’ stands on top of the podium for the council boss with the highest base salary. Nice work, if you can get it.

8. There were only two councils who had no employees receiving over £100,000.

Happily bucking the trend, Bolsover and West Oxfordshire had no employees receiving over £100,00. While it may be only two councils, that's still better than none.  So congratulations to Bolsover and West Oxfordshire - local taxpayers will be thankful!

9. Essex has maintained having 45 council bosses on remuneration over £100,000.

Since our last Town Hall Rich List, Essex has stubbornly stayed in second place with 45 of their council employees receiving remunerations of over £100,000. Nice of Essex County Council to keep consistent with the amount of money they’re dishing out to their employees, I’m sure that local taxpayers will be grateful. 

10. We publish this research so that residents are armed with the truth about what goes on in their town halls.

With local elections around the corner, a cost of living crisis, and the highest tax burden since the end of WW2, taxpayers have the right to know where their hard-earned money is being spent. While this information is available in the public domain the data is still rather hard to come by so we collect it all so that the taxpayer knows what is truly going on in their town halls.

Armed to the teeth with facts and figures from our latest Town Hall Rich List, taxpayers can hold their council bosses to account and be fully informed about what is at stake at the upcoming local elections. 


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