Saturday, April 18, 2009

Ill-Informed Squeals From The Town Hall

Cllr Carter at the glitzy opening of Kent TV - funded by taxpayers

For some reason, the TaxPayers' Alliance seems to have upset a number of local councils. One of them is Kent.

This morning, the Leader of Kent CC, Paul Carter, writes to the late lamented Torygraph* saying:

"The TaxPayers’ Alliance has received much publicity after publishing salaries of senior public sector staff gained under the Freedom of Information Act...

There is much misinformation being peddled about so called bloated salaries. I have looked back over 30 years at salary comparisons in the private sector (using my 30 years of experience in the construction business) and the public sector which shows that chief executives and senior officers in local government have not had excessive growth in their salaries.

In 30 years average salaries have increased by a factor of almost 10. Senior officers and chief executives in local government lag behind with a multiple of under eight."

In the printed paper he even includes a little table to support his assertion:

So a bricklayer is apparently earning 10 times what he got 30 years ago, a headteacher 8.75 times, and Kent's CEO a mere 7.64 times. Kent's CEO has clearly fallen behind, so the TPA should just shut up.

Hmm... bricklayers... headteachers... wonder why Mr Carter didn't make the obvious comparison, which is with the official stats on average pay from the Office for National Statistics.

Because had he done so, he would have found that over the last 30 years, the average pay of full-time adults has gone up only about 6.5 times (see summary from the National Statistician here).

So far from lagging behind, Kent's CEO has actually been roaring ahead.

As for Carter's supposed "data" on brickies and headteachers, it may have escaped his notice that the UK average pay for a brickie is £25 grand pa, and when last sighted (2006) the average headteacher was earning £52 grand pa.

Here's a thought for the voters of Kent - maybe you should get yourselves a council leader who spends his time saving your money, rather than making up spurious justifications to spend more of it, opening vanity TV stations, and losing £50m in busted Icelandic banks.

*Footnote: for the definitive commentary on the late lamented Torygraph, see the irreplaceable Guido.

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