SOLIHULL Council’s Chief Executive will pocket a massive 12.2 per cent pay rise while his second-in-command will be given an even bigger 15.5 per rise – it has been announced this week.
This is despite the lowest paid council workers not even being on the living wage.
Chief executive Nick Page’s current salary is £130,111 but next year, in 2017/18, this will rocket up to £146,000 – toppling the Prime Ministers salary of £142,500 a year.
Paul Johnson, the deputy chief executive and director of resources, will be paid £124,000 – he is currently on £107,309. Both of their rises will be subject to performance reviews.
The decision to approve the new salaries was made at a full council meeting on Tuesday (December 1).
The inflation-busting rises – totalling £33,000 – are being defended as part of overall savings of £253,000 in the Council’s senior management team which has seen the number of directors reduced to five from seven.
This, it is claimed, will see the workload of the chief executive and his deputy significantly increase.
Green Party Councillor Tim Hodgson, leader of the opposition, said it was a huge pay rise especially when the council was having to see cuts to vital services, including the closure of the Citizens Advice Bureau in Shirley, which are ‘hitting the vulnerable hard’.
He added: “When we can’t afford to give the lowest paid a living wage, we surely can’t give the chief executive such a huge pay rise.
“We’re told we need to pay more or staff will move to better paying councils.
“But that ignores the fact that people want to work in Solihull and tend to stay longer with us than with councils that pay more.”
Coun Robert Hulland, chairman of the remuneration committee, said the chief executive salary in Solihull had always been well below that of other councils in the area and the new wage structures for both the chief executive and his deputy would still be well below most of the other authorities in the region.
He added: “Solihull has reviewed its corporate leadership team in order to work more efficiently and to secure the savings it needs to make to meet the challenges ahead.
“Whilst the two officers will receive above average pay rises as a result of the additional responsibilities they will take on, the Council will still see annual savings of £253,000 – this is a good deal for the council tax payer.”
The new pay scale was determined independently and in-line with the Council’s job evaluation scheme.