MP calls on Suffolk council chief to take pay cut

A SUFFOLK MP has joined calls for council chief Andrea Hill to take a pay cut.

In a House of Commons question-and-answer session, David Ruffley, MP for Bury St Edmunds, questioned Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, on the 'culture of excessive pay' in local government which he said has led to 43 per cent of council chiefs being paid more than the Prime Minister.

In response, Mr Pickles said local authority chief executives' pay had got 'completely out of kilter'.

He said: 'With regard to the chief executive of Suffolk, that county does many fine things and is an exemplar authority in many ways, but the chief executive's refusal to take a pay cut has meant that she has detracted from Suffolk's many fine achievements.'

Mr Pickles has previously called on all local authority chiefs earning more than �200,000 to take a 10% reduction in pay.

Speaking after Monday's Commons session, Mr Ruffley said he would like to see Mrs Hill consider a cut in the �218,000-a-year salary. she receives as chief executive of Suffolk County Council.

'I think she should consider doing that as a way of drawing a line under this subject.

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'In her position, she might want to reflect on the Secretary of State's advice that he gave to her in the House of Commons. But it's really for her to decide what she makes of that advice.

'We all want to move on from this controversy because it's rumbling on and it doesn't show any signs of dying down, so in the interests of everybody involved – council employees, members of Parliament, everyone – we would all like to move on and start focusing on what's best for Suffolk in delivering better services more efficiently.'

He added: 'At the moment, we have got a travelling circus where Liberal Democrat councillors are writing articles in national newspapers and I believe it's getting farcical. We have got to draw a line under it somehow, and it could well be that a voluntary pay cut is the way to draw a line under it.

'We all want to move on and move on we must, because this travelling circus is doing nobody any good, least of all the good reputation of Suffolk.'

Essex chief executive Joanna Killian took a 5 per cent pay cut in her �247,000 salary in October in response to calls from Mr Pickles, while just last week, the chief executive of Lambeth Council volunteered for a 10 per cent drop in his �214,000 pay packet and waived a bonus he was owed.

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