Twenty local council employees earned over £100,000 last year, new figures have revealed.

The annual Town Hall Rich List released yesterday, April 9, showed that the five senior staff at Watford Borough Council got six-figure salaries, while the average UK wage stood at £34,963 last year.

The Watford chief executive earned £168,694 in salary and pension contributions, while the group head of place shaping received a total of £133,658.

Across the region, the Hertsmere Borough Council managing director earned £157,000 last year before a £29,000 pension contribution, meaning they almost made as much as the prime minister, who had a salary entitlement of £164,951.

The chief executive at Dacorum Borough Council also raked in £147,595 in 2023, with an extra £27,305 for their pension, while the Three Rivers chief executive also made a total of £163,294.

The figures obtained by campaign group the TaxPayers’ Alliance showed that the number of council staff receiving over £150,000 hit a record high of 829, while it was revealed for the first time that 175 people earned over £200,000. 

Following the release, the pressure group has called on councils to freeze council tax to “ensure value for money for residents”.

Watford Borough Council approved a 2.99 per cent council tax rise in February, which it said would "protect" local services amid “unprecedented” financial pressures.

What did the councils say?

Watford Borough Council: “We want the very best people to work for the council ensuring Watford remains a successful town. Offering the right salary for the job is one way we achieve this.”

Three Rivers District Council: “Three Rivers is a diverse district covering a wide range of communities, and as a district council we offer first rate and wide-ranging services. We have managed our budgets well, haven’t cut any services and we consistently keep any council tax increases low.

"In order to ensure we can continue to offer residents this level of service, we must continue to attract the best possible staff - and that means offering competitive market rate salaries.” 

Hertsmere Borough Council: "Each year the council publishes a pay policy statement that sets out the approach to staff salaries and this statement is approved by the council’s elected members in Full Council. 

“Salaries for our most senior staff reflect the responsibilities that come with this type of key role, and are approved by elected members in an open and transparent way. The council has a very lean management structure and these are important positions, which carry salaries commensurate with these responsibilities. 

"The salaries must also attract and retain the best candidates possible in a competitive employment market."

Dacorum Borough Council was approached for comment.