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30pc more staff earn over £50,000

PUBLISHED: 11:50 24 June 2008 | UPDATED: 20:42 05 July 2010

THE number of staff earning more than £50,000 a year at Suffolk County Council has increased by 30pc in the last year, it has emerged.

The authority has already been heavily criticised for recruiting highly-paid officers - including a chief executive earning £218,000 a year - when its future is unclear.

THE number of staff earning more than £50,000 a year at Suffolk County Council has increased by 30pc in the last year, it has emerged.

The authority has already been heavily criticised for recruiting highly-paid officers - including a chief executive earning £218,000 a year - when its future is unclear. It was also revealed last week that the council is spending £500 a day on consultants for its public relations unit until it appoints a new department head, earning up to £81,000.

A report for the last financial year shows the council has 169 employees in the highest-paid grades - a significant leap from 137 people earning more than £50,000 the year before.

During the same period, the 75 county councillors paid themselves an extra £151,000 in allowances, taking the annual cost to council taxpayers of elected politicians to more than £1m.

Four headteachers were paid between £90,000 and £99,000 last year, while none earned over £90,000 in 2006/7.

A council spokesman said: “The increase in the number of staff in the £50,000+ band is because the figures are now based on pay inclusive of employee pension contributions whereas they previously excluded this element.”

The council's draft accounts show that the total basic allowances paid to the 75 county councillors was £691,000 last year, compared to £603,000 the previous year. The special responsibility allowance - paid to party leaders, cabinet members, the council chairman and the development control committee chairman, increased from £225,000 to £289,000. A further £91,000 was claimed in expenses.

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