Public Sector Elite Earning Thousands Of Pounds Per Day

(Telegraph) – A COSY ELITE of public sector staff are earning as much as £4,800 for a day’s work, a report claims today.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance report into the earnings of quango executives comes as MPs call for public sector bodies to be “named and shamed” if they pay their staff too much.

The TPA studied the pay and contracts of more than 900 non-executive directors of public bodies, who sit on management boards part-time and oversee their strategy and performance.

The report looked at the boards of 100 quangos, and found that the typical board meets between 10 and 14 times a year.

Overall, the TPA calculated that for chairmen of public bodies, the average daily rate was £642. The typical non-executive board member got £356.

Some are paid much more. The best-paid was Sir Callum McCarthy, the former chairman of the Financial Services Authority. He was paid £487,238 for a year when he was at the City watchdog, a daily rate of £4,872.

Sir John Harman, the former chairman of the Environment Agency, was paid the equivalent of £1,240 for each day’s work. John Armitt of the Olympic Delivery Agency was paid £962.

The report also found that a significant number of directors sit on the board of more than one quango.

Ben Farrugia, the author of the TPA report, said quango board appointments are often a “carousel”, with members and chairmen frequently moving from one board to another.

He said: “Quangos spend large amounts of taxpayers’ money and control a wide range of public activities, but they are unaccountable and distant from the taxpaying public. Their non-executive directors should work to protect taxpayers’ interests on our behalf, but there are serious concerns about their suitability to do that job.

“Our study suggests that instead of serving taxpayers’ interests, many non-executive members and Chairs are all too likely to put their quango’s interests first.”

Meanwhile, the Public Administration Select Committee of MPs joined the growing chorus of criticism of public sector salaries

The committee called for the creation of a new Top Pay Commission to require public sector pay-setters to justify big pay deals and “set them in the context of pay at lower levels and the state of the public finances.”

Tony Wright, the Labour chairman of the committee, said: “We do not believe that the ever-growing gulf between average earnings and top pay is sustainable or desirable – especially in a time of recession.”

The MPs’ report also identified weaknesses in current arrangements for public sector pay-setting, warning of a perception that some public servants have been rewarded for failure.

Pay has been driven up because parts of the public sector are competing against each other for a small number of experienced executives, rather than nurturing talent within their own ranks, the MPs said.

George Osborne, the Tory shadow chancellor has said that under a Conservative government, any public sector salary higher than the Prime Minister’s £192,000 salary could only be directly approved by the Treasury.

Gordon Brown admitted this month that a “culture of excess” has developed around public sector salaries and ordered a review of senior officials’ pay.

Last week, John Denham, the Communities Secretary, put forward new rules requiring local authorities and other public bodies to reveal the names and salaries of an estimated 300 staff earning more than £150,000 a year.

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