Council bosses face Labour pay crackdown

By Alex Stevenson

John Denham has told Labour conference delegates he will act to rein in “out of hand” pay for local government bosses.

The communities and local government secretary used his speech in Brighton to give his clearest commitment yet to a clampdown on the pay of the highest earners in councils up and down Britain.

He said he wanted to limit their pension entitlements and prevent “boomerang bosses” walking away from one high-paid job with a huge payout immediately into the next one.

Mr Denham announced approval of another £500 million of equal pay awards. He said he would ask pension providers to examine how more low-paid members could be kept in the scheme.

“And I can do all this while capping the burden of new costs falling on council taxpayers,” he said.

“And do this because if I didn’t, it wouldn’t be fair. Common sense fairness is in the DNA of the British people. And in hard times fairness matters more than ever.”

While the average pay of local government workers has risen by £6,000 in the last seven years, the average pay of their bosses has shot up by £40,000, he explained. Nine chief executives receive an average of £212,000.

“Don’t get me wrong. These are not bad people. Most have given their own lifetime to public service,” he added.

“But we all know – it’s just got out of hand. And it’s just got to stop.”

Mr Denham also used his speech to deliver a scathing attack against Conservative-run councils.

He said he was “sick and tired” of them taking the credit for Labour investment while “working for a Tory government that will take it all away”.

He finished: “We’ll tell the truth about Cameron’s councils on every doorstep, in every street and in every community. They’ve said one thing and done another for too long.”