Inflation fears over chief's pay packet

A CONTROVERSIAL pay increase for Suffolk's top boss could prompt similar hikes across the country, it has been claimed today.Tory chiefs on Suffolk County Council have controversially offered Andrea Hill up to £70,000 more than current chief executive Mike More to take the top job.

A CONTROVERSIAL pay increase for Suffolk's top boss could prompt similar hikes across the country, it has been claimed today.

Tory chiefs on Suffolk County Council have controversially offered Andrea Hill up to £70,000 more than current chief executive Mike More to take the top job.

Ipswich MP Chris Mole, who has spoken out against the whopping increase, said he fears the move could lead to a domino effect of massive rises for top council officers across the land with taxpayers footing the bill.

He said: “I was at a dinner the other night and was sitting next to the chief executive of another county council.

“He said he had read what Mrs Hill was going to be paid by Suffolk and said he would have to go back to his councillors and tell them that this was the new going rate for chief executives.

“What worries me is that this award will have council chiefs all over the country looking at their salaries and judging them against what remains a medium-sized county.

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“That could stoke up inflation for senior council officers everywhere.”

Mr Mole's fears are mirrored by campaign group the Taxpayers' Alliance.

Spokesman Mark Wallace said: “It's certainly a cause for concern that this salary agreement might not just hit Suffolk taxpayers but could end up hitting taxpayers right across the country.

“Council chief executives' pay has risen well above inflation in recent years and this will only spur it to rise further. This is a serious question of priorities.

“Taxpayers work hard for to foot the council tax bill for essential frontline services, not to further inflate already hefty executive salaries.”

A spokesman for the Local Government Association, an organisation that promotes better local government, said the decision to review pay lies with each individual authority.

The spokesman said: “Every decision that is made about somebody's pay is ultimately going to be made with the consent of the top brass within each authority. Each authority is accountable for that decision.”

Should council chiefs pay up to £220,000 for a new boss? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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