New pay role proposed for council sub-group

Councillor Tim Brett
Councillor Tim Brett

THE Liberal Democrat leader on Fife Council, Tim Brett, wants the new administration to tackle the question of “excessive executive pay”.

His request focused on companies in which Fife Council had a shareholders’ interest – and also followed a pre-election report from the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA), which highlighted big salaries among employees of the council itself.

Cllr Brett said the council’s superannuation fund and pension sub-committee, of which he was a former member, controlled nearly £1 billion of investments in a wide range of UK and international stocks and shares.

“As part of our role, we are interested not just in getting a good return on our investments for the benefit of all Fife Council current and future pensioners, but also have a need to consider the ethical and governance arrangements of the companies we hold shares in,” he added.

As responsible shareholders, said Cllr Brett, the council had a right to consider the executive pay arrangements of those companies and the new sub-committee, when appointed, should give the matter its attention.

Earlier, the council had responded to the TPA’s Town Hall Rich List, detailing local government officials whose remuneration exceed £100,000.

Nine Fife Council bosses were paid over £100,000 last year, according to its figures, with chief executive Ronnie Hinds netting a shade under £200,000.

Despite criticism, the council said pay levels were in line with other Scottish local authorities.

Fife said it recognised the TPA’s role in the debate on public sector reform but there were “inconsistencies and lack of context in its report, which could mislead the public”.

COSLA and the trades unions agreed salaries for council workers at a national level, and the pay grades reflected the complexity and responsibility of the jobs.