Wandsworth Council boss gets £15k bonus amidst cuts
The council’s chief executive, who has overseen millions of pounds worth of cuts, will rake in a £15,000 bonus this year.
Paul Martin’s total remuneration package for 2013/14, including bonuses, expenses and pension payments, comes to £277,838 - an increase of £3,614 on last year.
Wandsworth town hall
Mr Martin, one of London’s highest-paid chiefs, will receive a £15,631 bonus while finance director Chris Buss will take home £14,007.
The council has cut its spending by £80m since 2010 by axing jobs, outsourcing and cutting services.
Lollipop ladies, park workers and meals on wheels were cut, while library services and leisure centre management was outsourced. The council is also in the process of outsourcing adult social care and youth services.
Cuts of £43m have also been approved for this year's budget, as the council agreed to freeze council tax for the fifth time in six years
Mr Martin, whose pension payment comes to £43,952 and expenses total £2,554, was recently asked to defend his huge pay packet at an inquiry by the House of Commons’ communities and local government select committee.
The bonuses were voted through by Wandsworth Council on Thursday, July 3, at the general purposes committee.
Labour councillor and leader of the opposition Rex Osborn said: "Wandsworth’s chief executive and finance director are already two of the highest paid individuals in the public sector, so it is staggering that the Wandsworth Tories have once again awarded them pay rises and five figure bonuses.
"Wandsworth has over £25m in cuts to make this year, just to balance the books. Every extra pound that it spends on high pay and bonuses is one pound less to spend on protecting the frontline services that residents value.
"Wandsworth is now completely out of kilter with other local authorities - both in London and across the rest of the country. Even the chief executives of major cities such as Manchester earn about 25 per cent less than the Wandsworth CEO."
A council spokesman said performance-related pay was a contractual obligation, recognising that both men had met targets.
He said: "It is the lowest award made since the 1990s.
"Under our chief executive’s leadership we have reduced the number of senior managers by over 30 per cent and saved more than a million pounds in executive pay since 2010 and that process is continuing.
"Wandsworth has a proven track record of providing residents with the best value for money services of any local authority in the country. We have one of the highest residents' satisfaction approval ratings of any town hall in the country while our council tax is half the London average and has been the lowest in the whole UK for the past 20 years."
Bruce MacKenzie, chairman of the campaign group Wandsworth Against Cuts, said: "To pay this monstrous amount on top of already bloated salaries is unforgivable in a time when Wandsworth Council is cutting jobs and services all over our borough, and the same story is being repeated all over our nation.
"In our own borough, shops and churches are hosting food bank collections in an attempt to mitigate the poverty spreading ever wider in this, one of the richest parts of the country, itself easily one of the top ten most prosperous in the world."
Remuneration packages 2013/14
Chief executive Paul Martin
Pension £43, 952.90
Finance director Chris Buss
To put it in context, last year Prime Minister David Cameron’s salary was given as £142,500.