£200k salary is the ‘market rate’ for job

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Council bosses have defended the six-figure salary of their chief executive after town hall pay was criticised by a pressure group.

Joanne Roney, Wakefield Council’s top officer, earns more than £200,000 a year, according to the Town Hall Rich List, an annual research report by the Taxpayers’ Alliance.

The group, which campaigns for tax cuts and lower public spending, said more than 3,000 council staff UK-wide were earning more than £100,000 a year, raising concerns over whether the salaries were good value for money.

Jonathan Isaby, Taxpayers’ Alliance chief executive, said: “After more than a decade of reckless spending and council tax hikes, local politicians now have to make necessary savings and the pay and perks for the town hall elite have to come under the spotlight.”

According to the Rich List, Wakefield Council chief executive Ms Roney earned £201,297 in 2013-14, the latest year for which figures were available.

A further five Wakefield Council bosses earned more than £100,000 and one other member of staff was on more than £150,000 a year.

The council pointed out that the overall figure included pension contributions, and Ms Roney’s salary was actually £175,190 last year after a voluntary five per cent pay cut.

Council leader Peter Box said: “The salary for the role reflects the market rate for a post that carries such a high level of diverse responsibility and accountabilities and demands such a range of skills.

“Joanne Roney OBE is an accomplished and nationally recognised chief executive.”

The Taxpayers’ Alliance report also shows Ms Roney’s remuneration was dwarfed by that of the country’s highest paid council chief executive.

Jill Stannard, boss of Cumbria County Council, was on £411,025 a year.