Councils will be forced to disclose the pay and remuneration of their chief executives under new measures announced yesterday.
Local government minister John Healey has indicated he will change disclosure rules to require councils to share the full details of more than 2,500 senior posts.
The changes would force local authorities to reveal the salaries, bonuses, pensions and redundancy pay-offs of their highest earners in annual reports, along with extras such as private cars, chauffeurs and accommodation.
Healey said he was launching a consultation to amend the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2003 in a bid to cut spiralling salaries.
"Councils are big organisations with a tough job - they need the best people in charge," he said. "But we've recently seen top salaries rising far faster than the rest of local government, with some councils swapping managers like premiership football clubs. This salary spiral has to stop."
The proposals will build on standards set in central government by requiring councils to publish a head count, in narrower £5,000 band increments, of all staff taking home more than £50,000 a year.
Last month it emerged that around 20 council chiefs earn more than the Prime Minister. According to the TaxPayers' Alliance, the heads of Newham and Wandsworth council in London are paid more than £240,000 a year, compared to Gordon Brown's salary of £194,250.