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Top Town Hall pay to be made public

The Government is to pass legislation requiring local councils to name those officers being paid over £150,000. They will be banded in £5,000 increments above that figure. I'm not sure how much difference it will make in practice as the Taxpayers Alliance have already obtained rather more information than this by sending off Freedom of Information requests to the 475 local councils in the UK.

Their annual Town Hall Rich List covers those earning over £100,000. Topping the league incidentally was John Foster, the Chief Executive of Wakefield Council, a great bastion of Socialism. He was on £545,000 annual salary before he left. He presided over a culture of sacking whistle blowers. We await to see what his successor Joanne Roney gets. A report in The Sunday Telegraph a year ago said it was £180,000 to £189,999. She says she wants to help with the "daily struggles" residents face. In which case she make like to consider reducing the £1,274 Band D Council Tax they have to pay. I wonder what cabinet ministers Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper make of their local Labour Council's largess as they crank up for a class war General Election campaign. Doubtless they are as keen as John Denham for the matter to get lots of attention. 

I suppose the legal change should be welcomed as a matter or principle. We shouldn't have to rely on the Taxpayers Alliance to do all that donkey work to come up the information as to what our money is spent on. It also might be more up to date. The Taxpayers Alliance latest survey came out in April but covered the year 2007/08. In other words it was a year behind. Apparently not all Town Halls were desperately keen to cooperate. ("We're not going to tell you that, it is already in the public domain," is a favourite response. It would then turn out, of course, that it's not only far more vague information on the same general topic.)


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