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WALTHAM FOREST: Inflation-busting pay rises for council officers revealed

EXECUTIVE council officers are raking in salaries in excess of £100,000, and received inflation busting pay rises despite the economic downturn, a new report reveals.

From the tax year of 2007 to 2008, the seven highest-paid council officers in Waltham Forest received an average of £123,262 - at least four times the salary of other public sector workers.

The figures are revealed by the TaxPayers’ Alliance which, using data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, has published its annual Town Hall Rich List for every local authority in the country.

Overall, the top earners in Waltham Forest are fairly average compared with other authorities and do not exceed £150,000.

However, their total income from the council - which includes basic salary, car allowance, expenses, pension and other benefits - averages £2,370 a week.

In contrast qualified teachers in the borough earn between £25,000 to £35,000.

All of the highest paid executives received an increase in salary between 2006-07 and 2007-08 of more than seven per cent, more than three times the current two per cent government target for growth in pay for ordinary public sector workers.

The director of finance received an increase of almost 20 per cent.

Chingford resident Jean James-Shaw who campaigned to keep the council-owned care home, Walton House, in Chingford, open before the council closed it to make savings said the salaries are “disgusting”.

She said: “We are paying for them to work through our council taxes and we get hardly anything for it and they get so much money.

"They get more than some MPs.

“It is like what is happening with the MPs claiming expenses, it has got out of control.”

Waltham Forest Council did not supply the TaxPayers’ Alliance with a breakdown of the remuneration to show how much of the money was salary, car allowance or pension.

Neighbouring Redbridge Borough Council refused to reveal their executives’ salaries at all.

Policy analyst at the TaxPayers' Alliance Maria Fort said: “The size of council executives’ pay and perks is staggering, and every year the cost continues to rise.

“The fact that executives who have overseen increases in council tax, cuts in services and major policy failures are getting ever more generously rewarded is frustrating for taxpayers who are struggling to make ends meet.

“With bills rising and services stagnating, in too many town halls there is a culture of rewarding failure. Councils must start tightening their belts. We are in a recession and many of these rewards are financially unsustainable and morally indefensible.”

COUNCIL EXECUTIVES' EARNINGS AND SALARY INCREASES

RC Badrinath Executive Director £118,679

Christopher Kiernan executive director £121,546- £131,024 (7.8% rise)

Martin Esom Executive Director £115,134-£130,964 (13.7%)

Margaret Konigsberg Executive Director £116,225- £130,891 (12.6%)

Ian O’Donnell Director of Finance £103,190-£123,071 (19.3%)

Ian Goldsworthy Head of Support Services - £118,201

Satish Mistry Head of Legal & Democratic £106,248- £115,362 (8.6%)

Janet Wickham Dir of People, Policy & Performance £104,154-£113,322 8.8%

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