David Ruffley

David Ruffley MP in Commons attack on excessive local government executive pay on Monday 4th April 2011


David Ruffley took the row about local government executive pay to the House of Commons chamber on Monday 4th April 2011.

Here is an exchange between David Ruffley MP and Eric Pickles MP who is the Cabinet Minister for communities and local government:

Mr David Ruffley (Bury St Edmunds) (Con): What recent representations he has received on the levels of remuneration for local government executives. [50356]

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Mr Eric Pickles): Representations have been received from Members of Parliament, leaders of local authorities, trade union branches and members of the public. Although it is a matter for individual councils, we expect restraint and leadership to be shown locally when setting senior pay. We have introduced measures in the Localism Bill to increase local democratic accountability for decisions on senior pay. We have also been consulting on proposed new transparency arrangements for local government, including how public money is used in relation to senior pay.

Mr Ruffley: Forty-three per cent. of chief executives are paid more than the Prime Minister, and their pay has increased by more than 78% in the past five years. Does my right hon. Friend agree that this culture of excessive pay is a direct result of the last Labour Government's consistent ability to spend more than this country could afford?

Mr Pickles: I entirely agree. Chief executives' pay has got completely out of kilter. There are now 800 local government employees in the top 1% of all earners according to Will Hutton's figures. 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.

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