North Lanarkshire council tops rich list

11 April 2018, 07:19

money

North Lanarkshire Council has the most employees on more than £100,000 in Scotland.

A total of 18 staff were given remuneration packages of in excess of £100,000 in 2016/17, according to the 11th annual Town Hall Rich List from the TaxPayers' Alliance.

Across Scotland, 222 received remuneration totalling more than £100,000, 10 down on the previous year.

As well as salary, remuneration packages can include benefits in kind, expenses, bonuses, redundancy payments and employer's pension contributions.

The largest remuneration package in Scotland of £563,862 went to the former finance director of Lothian Buses, Norman Strachan - the third highest payment in the UK.

The Taxpayer's Alliance said the publicly owned firm, of which Edinburgh City Council is the majority shareholder, was included in the figures as it remains taxpayer funded.

The company's former engineering director, Bill Devlin, also made the UK top 10 highest remunerated employees on at number eight on £430,690.

Both left their posts in January 2017 and £563,862, their payments included £150,000 compensation each for loss of office.

Other loss of office payouts of more than £100,000 in Scotland include £141,155 to East Dunbartonshire Council finance and shared services director Ian Black and £132,721 to East Ayrshire head of democratic services Bill Walkinshaw.

Edinburgh Council ranked third in Scotland for the number of employees with remuneration packages of more than £100,000 at 16, behind North Lanarkshire on 18 and Glasgow on 17.

Shetland Islands and West Lothian councils both had 11 while Dumfries and Galloway and East Ayrshire had 10 each.

Across the UK 2,306 council staff raked in more than £100,000, a drop of 60 staff on the previous year.

Renumeration packages of more than £150,000 were given to 558 council employees UK-wide.

TaxPayers' Alliance chief executive John O'Connell said: "After years of excess, councils have woken up to reality and are slimming down senior management teams.

"It's good news for taxpayers that the number of very high earners is falling, but there are still far too many astronomical pay-offs for those leaving employment.

"More than £1 million was spent getting rid of just five Scottish town hall staff in 2017 despite the government's supposed clampdown on golden goodbyes."

A spokesperson for North Lanarkshire Council said: "As is often the case, the Taxpayers Alliance report does not reflect the true picture. The figures used clearly include staff leaving the organisation who have paid into a pension scheme throughout their working lives and who are entitled to pension payments. These payments are not set by the council.

"The figures used cover the second financial year in which a significant restructure of the council took place. This restructure ensured a reduction of five chief officers and has delivered a £700,000 saving each year since and every year in the future. In addition, these figures do not set in context the strategic capacity required to oversee around £1billion of public money delivering services to 340,000 residents.

"Our external auditors have confirmed that the council's financial planning is robust."