Revealed: Hampshire County Council boss’s £500,000 pay package

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The former Chief Executive of Hampshire County Council received a £530,761 remuneration package last year, a new report has revealed.

John Coughlan, who stepped down last year, took home £231,115 – almost £70,000 more than the Prime Minister in 2020-2021 – plus a further £299,646 in pension contributions.

Winchester City Council Chief Executive, Laura Taylor, was paid £128,000 and was one of three employees paid more than £100,000.

Across the UK, the number of local authority employees in the UK earning over £100,000 has increased over the pandemic, a council rich list compiled by The Taxpayers’ Alliance has found.

The list breaks down the salaries and total remuneration of local council executives for a single financial year and this year is published against the backdrop of council tax hikes and the cost of living crisis.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘Taxpayers facing a cost of living crisis want to know they are getting value for money from their local authority leadership.

‘With households having suffered through the pandemic and now struggling under colossal tax bills, the country needs councils to prioritise key services without resorting to punishing tax hikes.

‘These figures will allow residents to judge town hall bosses for themselves and hold their local councils to account.’

Total remuneration includes salary, benefits, expenses, bonuses, duty fees, redundancy payments and pension contributions.

Hampshire County Council

The number of HCC employees earning six figures has increased by two since the previous financial year.

John Coughlan, the council’s chief executive, took home £231,115 which is up from £224,929 the previous year – in total remuneration he received £530,761 due to a pension worth nearly £300,000. The council says the pension contribution shown for relates to the discharge of a contractual commitment in respect of his pension benefits. Since retiring, Mr Coughlan has become Chairman of trustees for the charity Skills for Care, the workforce development and planning body for adult social care in England, a position that comes with a £35,000 honorarium.

The county council tax precept has increased by 2.99 per cent since the start of April.

A spokesperson for Hampshire County Council, said: ‘The data that the Taxpayers’ Alliance has provided is readily available, as these details are published by the county council each year.

‘These positions are also responsible for the delivery of a range of services to a number of other local authorities and public sector partners nationally.

‘Employing approximately 10,000 people directly and many more indirectly, Hampshire County Council is one of the largest public sector organisations in the country, serving 1.4 million residents, spending over £2 billion per year on the delivery of a wide range of complex and essential public services.

‘County council rates of pay are competitive in order to recruit, retain and motivate the best people, and to deliver value for money for the taxpayer.’

Winchester City Council

Three employees currently have six-figure salaries in the second tier authority, compared to two staff members last year.

The chief executive, Laura Taylor, earns £128,000 – up from £121,000 the previous year.

WCC increased council tax by 2.7 per cent and saw increases of three per cent for other fees and charges. The council was approached for comment

Across the UK, more than 2,921 local authority employees were paid more than £100,000 in total remuneration in 2020-21, an increase of 119 from the previous year and the highest amount since 2013-14.

In the same year, 739 employees received over £150,000, an increase of 46 and the highest number since the TPA started publishing the rich list.

The average number of employees earning over £100,000 in total remuneration is 7.7 per local authority, the average receiving over £150,000 is 2 per council.

The highest-paid council employee in 2020-21 is the former chief executive of Croydon council, receiving £613,895 in total remuneration.

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