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Senior Pay (Local Government)

Volume 530: debated on Monday 20 June 2011

We have been clear that we expect councils to demonstrate much more restraint in the local decisions they make on senior pay. In addition, we have introduced measures in the Localism Bill and we are improving transparency arrangements to ensure greater local democratic accountability in determining senior pay.

Many senior business men and their staff in my constituency have taken pay cuts as a result of part-time working through the downturn. Is local government sharing that pain?

I am delighted to tell my hon. Friend that a survey by one of the trade papers showed that chief executives’ salaries have dropped by 14%. In my view, that is certainly a very good start. We have asked chief executives who are earning more than £150,000 to take a 5% cut, and those earning more than £200,000 to take a cut too. They need to do that so they can look their front-line staff in the eye when taking these difficult decisions.

Does the Secretary of State agree that the level of transparency being applied to the public sector should also apply to the private sector, and how can that be achieved?

That is a matter for companies and their shareholders. However, I am sure that somebody who has been a champion of the low-paid, such as the hon. Gentleman, will be very pleased that we are extending that transparency. It will apply not only to highly paid people but to low-paid people in the public sector, so that we can clearly see the level of remuneration that local authority workers receive.