MP hits out at county pay packets

A NORTHUMBERLAND MP has called for a cut in senior county council staff pay to fund road repairs.

Guy Opperman has said on many occasions that wages in some fields are too high and he sits on the Advisory Panel of the High Pay Commission, which campaigns against excessive salaries in both the public and private sector.

Now, he has turned his attentions to Northumberland’s main local authority, claiming that the high salaries paid to senior officers are unfair at a time when people are seeing their own pay squeezed and council services cut.

The MP for Hexham said: “The chief executive is on more than £175,000 a year in salary. Think about that for a minute; the Prime Minister gets £142,500. The amount of council taxpayers’ money sloshing around for those at the top of the county council is appalling.

“People I speak to fully understand these are tough times and the council is having to do more for less, but when you see the elected councillors who run the authority handing out taxpayers’ cash in executive salaries like it was going out fashion, it really does beggar belief.

“The executive has not only cut the pothole budget, but also cut road maintenance teams here in the west area. At the same time, it is paying in excess of £130,000 to the new deputy chief executive, whose responsibilities include ‘responding to emotional and morale issues brought about by change’.

“Even ignoring its own senior staff, the county council is still spending more than £4,000 of taxpayers’ money every single week on outside consultants. They have drafted in a broadband consultant who could cost more than £170,000 a year. You can’t blame the bloke for taking it, but this is just silly money at a time when everyone else is tightening their belt.

“If you are using public money, you should be as restrained as possible and use every single penny carefully.”