A PRESSURE group has said ‘serious questions’ need to be answered about wages paid to councils’ executive staff – as it pointed to top managers earning £100,000 and more.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance said the top earning public servant in Oxfordshire was the county council’s chief executive, Peter Clark. His salary is £175,000 a year.

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According to the council’s own information, it pays another 10 staff over £100,000 a year. Its strategic director for people Jonathan McWilliam’s total remuneration is £183,585. His basic pay is £103,490, however.

Mr Clark’s salary is less than the £186,000 that Northamptonshire County Council, a neighbour, paid its former chief executive. That council, which has had to make £34m worth of cuts this year, also gave Paul Blantern a £95,000 pay-off after he resigned in October 2017.

It is also much less than other authorities have paid. Birmingham City Council’s former chief executive, Mark Rogers, was given remuneration of £666,662.

But the TPA said that with councils making cuts, councils had to ensure they were getting value for money for their ‘talented staff’.

John O’Connell, the chief executive of the TPA, said: “The average council tax bill has gone up by more than £900 over the last twenty years and spending has gone through the roof.”

He added: “There are talented people in the public sector who are trying to deliver more for less, but the sheer scale of these packages raise serious questions about efficiency and priorities.”

But Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Paul Smith said: “When Oxfordshire County Council is compared with other county councils in England it is far from being an outlier in terms of pay for senior staff. It’s clearly essential to have experienced, qualified senior staff and there’s a going rate to be paid.”

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Council’s chief executive Mark Stone and Oxford City Council chief executive Gordon Mitchell are included on the list.

Mr Stone’s salary is £140,000 a year, while Mr Mitchell’s is total pay package is up to £144,430.

Cherwell Council is not included in the list – but its chief executive, Yvonne Rees, is shared with South Northamptonshire Council.

West Oxfordshire District Council’s head of paid service Giles Hughes’ remuneration is £114,989. Despite the transfer of WODC staff to Publica in November 2017, Mr Hughes is officially employed by the council.