What should be the yardstick for salary?

AS DISCUSSIONS start about the salary of the new chief executive of Suffolk County Council, there is one yardstick that is being discussed that seems totally out of step with the real world.

I hope that the salary is kept down to between �140,000 and �150,000 because that is about the right salary for the chief executive of an organisation – not because it is the official salary of the prime minister.

Because as anyone who thinks about it for a second knows the prime minister does not have a salary of �142,5000 – he gets �142,500 in pocket money!

He doesn’t pay rent on his flat at 10 Downing Street, it’s like a vicarage. He has to live over the shop.

He doesn’t pay anything for his country seat at Chequers. The only accommodation he has to pay for is his holiday home in his constituency.

The prime minister doesn’t have to pay for his travelling expenses – he’s accompanied everywhere by detectives so the tab for that is picked up by the taxpayer.

That is why an independent inquiry estimated that the true value of the PM’s salary is �580,000 a year. And we wouldn’t want the chief executive’s salary linked to that, would we?

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So new council leader Mark Bee needs to take other issues into account when he and his colleagues settle on a new pay scale for a new chief.

MPs may be looking for �140,000. I suspect the council could get away with �150,000 – but must be wary of introducing a bonus that could push it up towards �180,000. They must know, as the rest of us know, that the era of excessive pay for council chiefs is over.

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