Editor’s comment: Six-figure salary packages ‘enough to make us laugh and cry’

Jane (she asked if we would change her name) is a hospital nurse.

Money stock image.

She thought that she had seen everything... until Covid-19.

Twelve months on, and she has lost count of how many times she’s unlocked her front door after work and collapsed in a heap, in tears.

A few weeks ago, Jane heard about a proposed wage rise of one per cent.

She felt like crying but instead, was left with feelings of anger and frustration.

Last week, she read about the salary packages paid to some of our town hall bosses.

Figures produced by the Taxpayers’ Alliance – a campaigning group calling for cuts in waste in public services – 
highlighted an increasing number of council employees earn in excess of £100,000.

Jane, by the way, takes home less than £19,000 after stoppages.

Like many of us, she is dreading a Council Tax bill dropping through the letterbox any day now.

She knows it will have gone up...again.

She also knows the increase doesn’t just cover council wage bills

Reflecting on those salaries, Jane admits she doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

She says: “I know they do important jobs but how can they justify earning so much?

“Some are paid more than the Prime Minister.”

Jane is not alone in asking that question.

Last week, this paper’s website revealed details of council employees who received six figure-plus salary packages.

The list included employees of Lincolnshire County Council – as well as East and West Lindsey District Councils.

The county council topped the East Midlands region, with 16 employees paid in excess of £100,000.

Chief executive Deborah Barnes received £179,042, including a £25,226 pension contribution.

Ms Barnes launched a staunch defence of those salaries, saying they highlighted the ‘going rate’ for quality staff... back to Jane.

She doesn’t just save patients’ lives. She cleans up their mess, puts up with their often drunken abuse (mental and physical) and has learned not to show any emotion when telling a relative a loved one has passed away.

And she still takes home less than £19,00 a year.

It’s not just nurses. We all think we should earn more. If our salary suddenly doubled, how many of us would say: ‘thanks boss, but no thanks’?

Jane will never complain. She just gets on with her job and worries how she will pay her next bill. I carried out a quick straw poll among friends.

The vast majority weren’t surprised by the town hall salaries. The reaction was a sign of the times, and evidence Britain is still a nation of haves and have nots.

• Facts and figures

Deborah Barnes’ salary package as Lincolnshire County Council’s Chief Executive would pay for seven new teachers with salaries starting at £25,714.

The average salary of a nurse is £25,578.

Four executive directors on the county council were all earning over £150,000.

According to the Taxpayers’ Alliance, the figures reveal at district council level, East Lindsey had three employees receiving above £100,000 and West Lindsey two.

East Lindsey Chief Executive Rob Barlow received a salary of £112,016 in addition to a pension worth £18,595, an annual total of £130,611.

His deputy received a salary of £92,276 in addition to a £15,318 pension, an annual total of £107,594.

It should be noted Mr Barlow also heads Boston Borough Council, following a link up between the two authorities.

The third individual at East Lindsey is an assistant director (development) who received a total of £126,520 although that figure included a compensation payment of almost £69,000 for ‘loss of office.’

West Lindsey’s chief executive Ian Knowles earned a total package worth £129,209 and an Executive Director £120,768.