Archive for August 18, 2010

The salaries of the top earners

August 18, 2010

Whenever I travel through London I take a rather unhealthy interest in the local free sheet published in the area. Last week I came across the Wimbledon Guardian, a paper which I assume from the vast number of adverts and limited news inside of it must be a free sheet delivered to every house or at least available in vast quantities at the train station.

What caught my eye was the front page which had a story about the Chief Exec awarding himself a £16,000 pay rise. I managed to find the story some days later here.

It wasn’t just the Chief Executive but also the other corporate directors who had received the additional money. What surprised me was that both major political parties (Lab and Cons in this case) in the Borough were broadly supportive of the move. This might be because the London Borough of Merton (the local authority in question) has had both major parties in power in the past year.

However, the reason both parties gave was that they needed to pay increased money to attract the quality of staff they needed to deliver the best service possible.

Is it possible that the politicians, who live and die by the results delivered by the senior managers have realised that they need to pay top market rates in order to secure the necessary talent that will help them deliver top notch services and thus win elections? And if this is the case then what does it say for the rest of us in this time of austerity? Are we going to have to be like the bankers and protect the salaries of the best and brightest by being ruthless with the minions? And if so, how can we possibly sell this to members of the public?

As far as I know there has been no uprising on the streets of Merton but were this to become a national picture, justified or not, would local authorities be able to justify their position and Chief Execs their high pay?