Brighton and Hove's best paid public servants named in report

Posted On 04 Dec 2009 at 7:00 am

Two Brighton health chiefs are better paid than the Prime Minister, according to a report published today by the Taxpayers’ Alliance.

Matthew Fletcher, the former medical director of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, and Duncan Selbie, chief executive, earn more than Gordon Brown.

Mr Fletcher was paid £210,000 in the 2008-09 financial year, a rise of about 10 per cent on the £190,000 he earned in 2007-08.

Mr Selbie received £207,500 in 2008-09, up 36 per cent from £152,500 the year before, according to the report.

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They were 226th and 232nd respectively on the list of 806 people in the public sector to be paid more than £150,000 in the past year.

Gordon Brown was ranked 324 on the list, with a salary of 194,250.

The medical director of neighbouring East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust in the past financial year, David Scott, was ranked 162 with a package worth £345,390. This was a rise of 33 per cent on the previous year when earned £230,360.

Kim Hodgson, chief executive of East Sussex Hospitals, received £152,850, up 7 per cent from £142,830.

Mike Rymer earned £175,000 as medical director of Worthing and Southlands Hospitals NHS Trust – now Western Sussex Hospitals – up 12.9 per cent from £155,000.

The figures have been brought together by the Taxpayers’ Alliance as the public finances come under growing pressure.

Ministers and the officials in charge of councils, health trusts and quangos are asking public sector staff to accept modest pay rises or in some cases a pay freeze. Others are losing their jobs.

Yet, according to the Taxpayers’ Alliance, many of these same officials are accepting pay rises well in excess of the rise in the cost of living.

The campaign group said: “Since the financial crisis, all parties are now fully committed to tackling the problem of excessive public sector pay, responding to anger at public sector fat cats whose fortunes have seemed unaffected by the recession.”

It said that it compiled its annual Public Sector Rich List to improve transparency and accountability, adding: “People and organisations that depend on taxpayers’ money should be accountable to the public and industries they serve.

“In order to judge whether organisations and officials represent good value for money, taxpayers must have access to as much information as possible.

“The remuneration of senior executives is one important part of that.”

John O’Connell, a policy analyst at the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “Executive pay in the public sector is completely divorced from the reality of Britain’s fiscal crisis.

“Ordinary families, struggling to make ends meet in the recession, don’t pay their taxes to fund gold-plated deals for public sector fat cats.

“All parties now agree that excessive pay packages must be tackled but the time for action is now, not next year. Taxpayers want genuine transparency, accountability and restraint in setting top public sector pay.”

Others on the Taxpayers’ Alliance who have an influence over public life in Brighton and Hove include Pam Alexander, chief executive of SEEDA (the South East England Regional Development Agency).

She ranks 188 on the list with a package worth £218,433, up 7.7 per cent from £202,842 in 2007-08. This includes a salary of £143,447, a bonus of £25,219, other benefits of £8,024 and pension contributions of £41,743.

A former civil servant, she also belongs to the board of Brighton Dome and Festival.

SEEDA also paid a six-figure sum to its former chairman James Brathwaite. In the 2008-09 financial year, he earned £190,504, up 142 per cent from £78,413. This included his salary of £81,028 and a pension contribution of £109,476 – for 6 years.

Another quango executive, David Edwards, south east regional director of the Homes and Communities Agency, picked up £166,000, up 59.6 per cent from £104,000. His basic salary was £128,000.

The list does not include council bosses. They were included on the Taxpayers’ Alliance Town Hall Rich List published earlier this year.

Brighton and Hove City Council would have had only one person on the new list if it included council officials – former chief executive Alan McCarthy.

Mr McCarthy, now chairman of Brighton and Hove City Primary Care Trust, had a basic salary of £170,000 to £180,000 in 2008-09. This was up from £168,345 in 2007-08 and £159,010 a year earlier.

His replacement, John Barradell, earned £155,000, including £32,500 in performance related pay, in 2007-08 while deputy chief executive of Westminster City Council.

In 2008-09, six other senior officers at Brighton and Hove City Council were paid six-figure salaries.

They are believed to have been Alex Bailey, who took over as acting chief executive when Mr McCarthy left, Jenny Rowlands, director of environment, Di Smith, director of children’s services, Joy Hollister, director of adult social care and housing, Scott Marshall, director of culture and enterprise, and Catherine Vaughan, director of finance and resources.

At Brighton and Hove City PCT, chief executive Darren Grayson was the biggest earner. In 2008-09 he had a six-figure basic salary. Combined with pension benefits, his earnings amounted to between £130,000 and £135,000, up from £120,000 to £125,000 for the year before.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance report, which is collated from public documents, says that it does not cover a number of other categories of public servants.

One omission from its latest list is the higher education sector. Sussex University, for example, paid six-figure basic salaries to 20 staff in 2008-09, including vice-chancellor Michael Farthing. This compared with 14 six-figure earners a year earlier. Its most recent accounts show that six staff were paid enough to have made the latest list – earning more than £150,000 – while two had a basic income in excess of £200,000.

Brighton University vice-chancellor Julian Crampton – who has just been appointed to the board of SEEDA – picked up £209, 157 in 2008, according to the latest accounts. This included a basic salary of £175,000, up from a total of £192,057 in 2007, which included a salary of £160,000. Eleven staff earned six-figure sums in 2008, compared with five the year before.

Last year The Argus reported that the highest paid teacher in Sussex in the previous year was Peter Evans, the former head of Cardinal Newman Catholic School in Hove.

His £105,000 salary included payment for work as a consultant for Brighton and Hove City Council as well as his responsibilities at the city’s biggest secondary school.

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