Paid more than the PM?

Lots of coins, some stacked in pilesI suspect that one of the ‘facts’ many people will fall on as the Andrea Hill/Suffolk CC story plays out is that she was ‘paid more than the Prime Minister’.

It’s an eye-catching claim that is easily trotted out, but it’s misleading. David Cameron chooses to take a salary of £142,50. He could claim a full salary entitlement of £198,661 – a ministerial salary of £132,923 plus a parliamentary salary of £65,738. Suddenly, the pay ‘gulf’ is a lot narrower.

It’s not all about salary either. Add the use of official residences – Downing Street and Chequers – as well as a ministerial car, expenses, pension and other allowances, and the real figure is much higher.

PM-related earnings also continue after leaving 10 Downing Street. Touring the international lecture circuit, giving after-dinner speeches and publishing autobiographies all boost the bank balance. Council chiefs aren’t regulars on the bestseller list.

Putting aside the PM pay argument, council chiefs are well-paid on a public sector scale. However, they’re running essential services in large organisations with hundreds of staff and multi-million pound budgets. You need someone highly qualified to take on the job, and for that you need to pay. More than the PM though? I don’t think so.

UPDATE: Only a few hours after posting, the Daily Mail covered the story under the headline – Fat-cat council boss who earned £75k-a-year more than PM ‘resigns after outcry over her salary’

Creative commons: Coins by xJasonRogersx on Flickr

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