Town Hall Rich List 2021 marks the 14th version of this list, first compiled in 2007. For the past 14 years the TaxPayers’ Alliance has assembled the most comprehensive list of council employees in the UK in receipt of over £100,000 in total remuneration.
This is usually released at the start of April, to coincide with the new council tax charges being introduced for residents. Some Frequently Asked Questions can be found below.
Where can I find a full breakdown of the figures, including data for my local council?
The full data is available here: https://www.taxpayersalliance.com/town_hall_rich_list_2021
Councils do not recognise these figures. Where are they sourced from?
Figures are sourced from the annual accounts published by each council named. These are available online on each council’s website. Audited accounts are used whenever available. If audited accounts are not provided by the council, unaudited or draft accounts are used. These figures are also provided by the council.
These numbers are incorrect. Why do you use both salaries and other payments?
The amount we use, unless otherwise specified, is the total remuneration an individual receives. This amount represents the total cost to the taxpayer. Salary payments alone do not take into account additional payments an employee might receive such as bonuses, benefits, loss of office and pension payments. These additional payments are paid to an individual by the council - therefore representing the cost to council taxpayers.
Why are pensions included? That is not money actually paid to council staff.
We include costs incurred by a council, for an employee, in the Town Hall Rich List. Pension payments, while not part of take-home pay, represent a portion of the total cost incurred by the taxpayer. This is why pension payments are included with salary payments, bonuses, benefits, and loss of office payments. Pension payments are paid to an individual's pension fund, by the council - therefore it is a cost to council taxpayers.
Why are redundancies included? Some of these payments were made to people on salaries below £100,000.
We include costs incurred by a council, for an employee, in the Town Hall Rich List. Redundancy/Loss of office payments represent a portion of the total cost incurred by the taxpayer. This is why redundancy payments are included with salary payments, bonuses, benefits, and loss of office payments. Redundancy payments are paid to an individual, by the council - therefore it is a cost to council the taxpayers.
Councils already publish these figures. Why are these being released now?
While the statutory deadline for councils to complete their 2019-20 audited accounts was 30 November 2020 - delayed this year because of covid - councils tend to publish their annual accounts at different times throughout the year. The Town Hall Rich List is the only comprehensive list of all senior council employees throughout the country and is always published at the start of April to coincide with new council tax charges. This allows residents to see their local council’s senior employees’ remunerations and directly compare these to other councils around the country.
The data is old and no longer correct. When and how was this data compiled?
This data is based on the latest full financial year accounts available from councils (FY 2019-20). The statutory deadline for councils to complete their 2019-20 audited accounts was 30 November 2020. Since many councils used this time allocation fully (and occasionally exceeded it), data cannot be comprehensively compiled before December 2020 and takes many months to collate, analyse and check. The Town Hall Rich List is the only comprehensive list of all senior council employees throughout the country and is always published at the start of April to coincide with new council tax charges.
Does this data relate to the covid pandemic?
The 2021 Town Hall Rich List covers council spending over the 2019-20 financial year, up to the end of March 2020. Therefore this data does not relate to the bulk of the coronavirus pandemic.
Councils are struggling during the covid pandemic. Why are you attacking council staff?
These figures do not attack council staff, they merely highlight councils’ senior employees’ remunerations. Accountability matters as a core principle of local government. These figures should shine a light on the town hall bosses who are delivering for residents, but also allow taxpayers to hold to account those who are not offering good value for money.
We think you’ve double-counted some of your entries in the pay bands?
For all councils’ figures, two places are checked in the accounts: the list of senior executives’ remuneration, and council employees in receipt of more than £50,000 (in salary), which are generally presented in £5,000 pay bands. In many instances, there will be a note above or below the pay bands table that says that these are separate/in addition to the list of senior executives.
- Say there's someone on £195k-200k in remuneration (minus pensions) in the pay bands. We might include that, even though the chief exec - for instance - is on £198,583 in remuneration (minus pensions).
- Even though this council has said that the pay band figures are separate to the senior executives, a decision may nevertheless be made to not include that (especially because there might be other entries which also seemingly duplicate). Therefore, we may presume - but don't know - that their accounts are wrong.
It is therefore not a mistake per se to include them.
Who funds the TaxPayers’ Alliance?
In total, we raised £815,000 in 2020. We have over 3,000 supporters who have given us money, and tens of thousands of others who do not, but all individual names are kept private. In the history of the TPA, we’ve received over 25,000 individual donations. The average value of an individual donation is currently £497. Unlike many other groups, the TPA does not receive a penny of taxpayers' money.
More information is available here: https://www.taxpayersalliance.com/funding