Labour Party Conference: Denham acts on council chiefs’ pay and pensions

The government has revealed that it plans to slash the pension entitlements of the highest local government earners and force council chiefs to publish their pay, pensions and bonuses awards.

In a speech to the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, John Denham, secretary of state for communities and local government, warned that the excesses of a few in councils have “got to stop”.

He said: “I don’t want to see the pay or the pensions of local public servants dragged down by public anger at the excess of a few.

“But I do want to limit the pension entitlements of the very highest earners. With every council publishing details of high-paid posts, their pay, pensions, bonuses and allowances.

“I will tackle the boomerang bosses who walk away with huge payouts, straight into their next job.”

The exact policy on pension entitlements was light on details, but Denham said he was targeting chief exectuives’ pay, which had gone up by £40,000 in seven years, compared to £6,000 for a local government worker. Nine chief executives are being paid an average of £212,000 a year.

Denham said: “Don’t get me wrong. These are not bad people. Most have given their own lifetime of public service. But we all know it’s just got out of hand, and it’s just got to stop.”

The secretary of state used his speech to thank the lower paid local government workers for being “realistic about pay”.

Earlier in the month local government workers accepted a 1.25% pay deal.

He said: “We couldn’t improve services and save money if local public servants weren’t prepared to work hard, accept change and be realistic about pay. So thank you.”

“It’s not always easy and you deserve a fair deal.”

Denham also added that he would give the go-ahead for another £500m of equal pay awards, while investing more money to stop “unscrupulous employers” paying foreign workers less than the minimum wage.