Birmingham City Council chief executive Stephen Hughes pocketed £233,000 in salary and pension contributions last year at a time when the city council braces itself for tens of thousands of job cuts, it has been revealed.
The figures were released on the day of the Comprehensive Spending Review and as Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles told the Birmingham Post that council’s should share chief executives to protect front line services.
Mr Pickles told local authorities to share senior managers to cope with seeing their budgets slashed by more than a quarter.
Mr Hughes is the highest earner at the Council House, where 13 officials are paid more than £100,000.
Following Government instructions, the council has for the first time published full details of salary packages enjoyed by senior directors.
Mr Hughes’s basic pay rose from £191,253 in 2008/10 to £204,810 in 2009/10 – an increase of seven per cent. But with contributions paid by the council into his local government pension plan, the chief executive’s total package was £233,097.
The figure was described as “scandalous” by the regional secretary of public service union Unison, Roger McKenzie, who pointed out that Mr Hughes had been in the forefront of persuading the Government to freeze local government pay.
Mr McKenzie, who is leading a campaign against council spending cuts, said: “It is hypocritical that officials like Mr Hughes, who are so well paid, should be intent on putting our low paid members out of work.
“It is absolutely outrageous that he should have been awarded a seven per cent wage rise.
“We have called on Stephen Hughes to resign before, and I repeat that again.”
Mr Hughes also finds himself firmly in the firing line of Local Government secretary Eric Pickles, who told this month’s Conservative conference in Birmingham that council bosses should cut their “ludicrous” pay.
Chief executives earning more than £200,000 could afford to take a 10 per cent cut of their salary because it would enable them to “look council workers in the eye”, Mr Pickles suggested.
By contrast, Prime Minister David Cameron’s salary is £142,500.
A council spokeswoman defended Mr Hughes, adding that he was well paid because he ran a £3.5 billion business with 55,000 staff.
She claimed his income had dropped by about five per cent in real terms as a result of Government tax increases.
The next highest earner after Mr Hughes at Birmingham City Council was the strategic director of environment and culture, Sharon Lea, with a pay and pensions package of £169,597.
Children, young people and families, adults and communities and housing and constituencies strategic directors Tony Howell, Peter Hay and Elaine Elkington enjoyed a total package of £164,455.
Mr Howell, who has been under attack since services for vulnerable children in Birmingham were found to be inadequate by Ofsted, is taking early retirement at Christmas.
Next in line was corporate director of resources Paul Dransfield, on £162,622.
director of corporate governance Mirza Ahmad was paid £115,117, but with pension contributions the total package came to £132,844.
The council’s former director of public affairs and communications, Debra Davis, was paid £92,400 in 2009/10, but with pension contributions the total package rose to £106,722. Ms Davis left the council in August, after three years in the post.
Former regeneration director Clive Dutton, who left the council in September last year, had a basic salary of £120,093 and pension contributions of £17,199, making a total of £137,292.
Long-serving human resources director Andy Albon, who is in charge of plans to save money by cutting the council’s workforce, was paid £105,300, but with pension contributions the total package was £121,621.
Head of policy and performance Jason Lowther was paid a salary of £89,988 in 2009/10 and pension contributions of £13,948, making a total of £103,936.
Corporate director of business change Glyn Evans, who is heading a business transformation project seeking to save the council £1 billion by introducing more efficient methods of working, benefitted from a total salary and pensions package of £106,392
John Cade, the director of scrutiny, who retired earlier this year, received a total pay and pensions package of £112,830.
The council’s accounts show that 162 employees earn more than £70,000 a year.
More than 900 earn between £50,000 and £70,000.
l Mirza Ahmad sidelined from new super-department Page 20l Eric Pickles – Comprehensive Spending Review Page 7