Sharp rise in number of NI councils paying salaries in excess of £100k

There has been a sharp rise in the number of local council employees in Northern Ireland earning more than £100,000 per year, new figures have revealed.

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 6:45 am
According to the Taxpayers’ Alliance, Mid and East Antrim council has eight staff with annual salary and pension packages of £100k or more

Mid and East Antrim Council tops the list with eight staff members now earning a six-figure salary, compared to Mid Ulster where only one salary exceeds £100k, according to data for 2019/2020 compiled by the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA).

Figures from 2018/2019 show that just one employee at Mid and East Antrim was remunerated with a pay and pension package worth more than £100k.

Top earner was Belfast City Council chief executive Suzanne Wylie with £170.288, followed by Ards and North Down chief executive Stephen Reid on £151,000.

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Belfast has the same number of council employees earning £100k or more as the previous year (seven), while both Antrim and Newtownabbey Council, and Ards and North Down, have jumped to six each – from two and one respectively in 2019.

Across the UK, at least 2,802 people employed by local authorities in 2019/20 received more than £100,000 in total remuneration – an increase of 135 on 2018-19.

Another key finding was that a total of 31 local authority employees received annual pay and pension packages in excess of a quarter of a million pounds in 2019-20. That figure is one fewer than the previous year. A total of 693 UK council employees received more than £150,000 – 26 more than the previous year.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Taxpayers... want to know they are getting value for money from their local authority leadership. At the onset of the coronavirus crisis, thousands of town hall officials were taking home huge sums. While councils were plunged into tackling the pandemic, many staff will have more than earned their keep, but households have nevertheless struggled with enormous and unpopular council tax rises.”

Mr O’Connell added: “These figures shine a light on the town hall bosses who’ve got it right, and will enable residents to hold those who aren’t delivering value for money to account.”

Councils in Northern Ireland have pointed out that salary and pension packages are set independently as part of a “robust” evaluation process.

In previous years, Belfast City Council has also pointed out that the chief executive’s salary reflects its position as the largest local council in NI.

The full data for Causeway Coast and Glens Council is not provided.

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