Northampton

Northamptonshire County Council: Nineteen employees paid £100,000-plus

Paul Blantern
Image caption Dr Paul Blantern left his role in October 2017 after 10 years with the council

A council paid 19 employees £100,000 or more in the same year it had a £41.5m deficit, according to new figures.

A total of £2.8m was split between the staff at Northamptonshire County Council in 2017-18, the Taxpayers' Alliance Town Hall Rich List shows.

Ex-chief executive Dr Paul Blantern, who earned £277,000, was the 19th highest-paid officer nationally.

A council spokesman said the salaries "reflect responsibilities associated with the posts".

The number of people earning £100,000 at the authority was down by four from 2016-17.

The figures also showed the council paid six-figure sums to more employees than any other council in the East Midlands, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

After twice banning all but essential spending in 2018, the Conservative-led council has announced it should balance its books this year.

However, it is set to be scrapped in 2020 - along with seven borough and district councils - and replaced by two new unitary authorities.

Image caption The council twice banned spending on all but essential services in 2018

It was reported at the time of his departure that Dr Blantern had left with a £95,000 pay-off, but the latest figures from the list indicate he was given £142,000 as "compensation" in the financial year.

The council confirmed the £142,000 figure included the £95,000 settlement, and the remainder of the sum was made up of his notice period entitlement.

This was then added to his £117,000 basic salary and £18,000 pension contribution, to make a total of £277,000.

A council spokesman said: "Staff salaries reflect responsibilities associated with the posts, many of which require highly-qualified, professional staff, while being mindful of the necessity of providing value for money."

He said the authority was "open" about what senior officers were paid and "information is easily available" on its website.

The figures were released days after the £1,100-a-day pay of the council's new children's services director was dubbed "obscene and unjustified" by unions after some staff were not given a pay rise this year.

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