Northants County Council fat cat pay highest outside city

Former chief executive Paul Blantern received a pay-off of more than 95,000.
Former chief executive Paul Blantern received a pay-off of more than 95,000.

Nearly two dozen employees of Northants County Council (NCC) were paid more than £100,000 last year despite being branded one of the worst performing authorities in the country.

A cohort of just 23 employees were paid £3.32m in the 2016/17 year, a new report by the Taxpayers’ Alliance has found.

One earned £337,000 in 12 months – though NCC is yet to reveal who that was.

Labour’s shadow cabinet member for finance Councillor Mick Scrimshaw said the amount of spending was ‘extraordinary’.

NCC says some of the salaries were paid to employees of the company LGSS, meaning their wages were met by councils in Northants, Cambridgeshire and Milton Keynes as part of a deal to share back-office functions.

But the Taxpayers’ Alliance said the number of excessive salaries at a council branded the “worst-run in the country” by Conservative MP Philip Hollobone could not be justified.

Alliance chief executive John O’Connell said: “With NCC in such a dire financial state, taxpayers will be shocked to learn 23 employees at the council took home more than £100,000 last year.”

A Freedom of Information request by the GMB revealed the council paid £371,000 to DDL Consultancy, owned by interim chief executive Damon Lawrenson during 2016-17 and 2017-18. Mr Lawrenson stood down by mutual consent last month. Former chief executive Paul Blantern was given a golden goodbye of at least £95,000 when he resigned in October.

Cllr Scrimshaw said the council needed to look at senior pay levels adding: “If you want to earn more than £100,000, go and work for a merchant bank.”

An NCC spokesman said: “Staff salaries reflect responsibilities associated with the posts, many of which require highly-qualified, professional staff, while being mindful of the necessity of providing value for money.”