For those of you wondering why your Council Tax demands in the Scottish Borders are so high for a region with poor take home pay, figures showing MASSIVE salaries & allowances for Councillors & Department Heads which recession hit Borders residents are also having to pay for were revealed this weekend as Scottish Borders Council posted their annual statement of accounts for 2010/11 on their website, also available as an online document or downloadable version HERE
The most interesting aspect of SBC’s latest annual accounts is the so-called Remuneration Report for senior employees and leading councillors. While most of the UK’s employed workforce including many public sector employees (although not including the financial or legal sector of course) is having to contend with levels of pay frozen in the public interest, the wage freezes and demands to save money in the face of the UK’s most severe recession seem to have escaped Scottish Borders Council, where salaries, pensions & golden goodbyes are definitely ON THE UP.
Within the latest set of accounts for Scottish Borders Council, the number of SBC officials with remuneration of over £50,000 increased from 97 in 2009/10 to 107 in 2010/11. In the same period the number of officers earning over £100,000 increased from 2 to 6 with page 27 of the final accounts showing the remuneration for the 15 senior councillors totalled £391,128 (£375,446 in 2009/10). Councillor George Turnbull’s remuneration increased by 34 per cent from £19,652 to £26,647 while Councillor F Renton enjoyed a 30 per cent increase (£18,493 to £24,063.)
Remuneration of senior employees (page 28) shows their earnings did not stand still either. David Hume (chief executive) had a total take including allowances of £123,008 (£119,531) although the figure included £3,500 fee as returning officer at the election. Tracey Logan, who worked under the chief executive was paid £101,039 (£96,470); Glenn Rodger, director of education £101,393 (£99,077); Iain Lindley, planning £91,105 (£89,040); Andrew Lowe, social work £101,393 (£99,108) and Ian Wilkie, legal services £71,936 (£70,183).
Pension lump sums and annual pensions earned by senior officers (page 30) show retiring Chief Executive Mr Hume will leave with a massive pension lump sum of £135,000 plus an annual pension of £49,000 none of which takes into account severance pay etc.
Under the heading of Termination Benefits (pdf page 46) the report also states “The council terminated the contracts of a number of employees in 2010/11 incurring liabilities of £1.6 million.”
The Scottish Borders is widely known as having one of the lowest paid workforces in the entire United Kingdom, and the trade unions representing council workers proudly announced recently that they had negotiated a pay freeze in return for no compulsory job losses. Scottish Borders Council have been constantly in the headlines for multi million pound losses in Icelandic banks, totalling near TEN MILLION POUNDS. More on the Icelandic Bank-SBC scandal can be read here : “Akin to Money Laundering” : Tory-LibDem Scottish Borders Council ‘played Russian Roulette’ with taxpayers £172 million in bankrupt Icelandic Banks
A Borders political reform campaigner branded the salaries at Scottish Borders Council as wasteful and a misuse of taxpayer funds.
He said : “Should these people not also be subjected to a pay freeze or even a pay cut like everyone else in the country ?”