Fat cat �2.5m salaries spark fury

THE chief executive of Brent is taking home an astonishing �205,000 heading a group of 18 council fat cats raking in a combined salary of nearly �2.5 million a year.

THE chief executive of Brent is taking home an astonishing �205,000 heading a group of 18 council fat cats raking in a combined salary of nearly �2.5 million a year.

Brent boss, Gareth Daniel who has cut a controversial figure during his tenure at the council, earns �60,000 more than the Prime Minister and a staggering seven times as much as a newly qualified teacher working in inner London, who takes home �27,000 a year.

A further five directors earn more than �140,000.

The shocking figures, obtained by BBC Panorama under the Freedom of Information Act, will come as a further blow to the borough, which is already reeling from an expected 400 job losses and �90m in cuts to services.

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Libraries, day centres for people with learning disabilities and advisory groups have all fallen victim to the drive to slash costs, and more services are likely to have their funding trimmed when the Government announces the results of its spending review next month.

George Fraser, Brent branch secretary for the GMB trade union, branded the salaries indefensible.

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Mr Fraser, who is fighting plans by Brent Council to switch from outer to inner London Weighting Allowance – a move that will see some employees lose out on �1,500 a year – said: “Not only is the pay disproportionate, but the higher paid officers seem better protected against the draconian cuts than normal members earning far less.

“If we have directors on really high salaries while ordinary low paid workers are losing �1,500 a year then there is no fairness. It puts the lie to the fact that we are all in this together.”

The government has already revealed that pay for the top five per cent of earners in the public sector has risen by more than half in the past 10 years.

During that time councils have been granted more control to set their budgets and internal pay scales.

Matthew Sinclair, director of Taxpayer’s Alliance campaign group said: “Taxpayers will be staggered to find out that there are so many high paid workers at the council.

“Serious action now needs to be taken to restrain public sector pay if savings are to be made, and senior staff need to take the lead.”

The figures reveal that the directors of children and families, John Christie, environment and culture, Richard Saunders, housing and community care, Martin Cheeseman, finance and corporate resources, Duncan McLeod, and policy and regeneration, Phil Newby, all earn �140,508 a year.

The director of business transformation Graham Ellis nets �130,471 a year, while the director of communications and diversity, takes home �126,008.

In total this amounts to a yearly pay cheque of �2,354,604.

A council spokeswoman said: “These pay levels are a lot less than in some local authorities and the private sector. Brent Council has been independently assessed as providing value for money and our performance is continuing to improve.”

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