Eric Pickles, for whom lambasting councils for supposedly wasteful spending is a stock in trade, has paid his department’s interim finance chief nearly £600,000 for only 16 months work.

The department’s permanent secretary revealed the shocking figure — more than £36,000 per month — to a committee of MPs described as “speechless” by LGC’s Alistair Hayman. Sir Bob Kerslake attempted to defend the salary of Stephen Park, hired from PFI kings Capita:

“Clearly, however  large that  figure is – and I don’t want to suggest it isn’t a large figure – the consequence of not running our finances in a sound way would have been far greater”

This will be difficult to swallow for councils across the country, who have frequently been on the end of Pickles’ criticisms of their spending. As recently as May of this year, he was denouncing a “culture of wild overspends” in local authorities.

“Do as I say, not as I do.”

  1. I saw the tweet for this article and automatically thought that there must be more to it. Perhaps there was some key detail missing from the argument.

    However, after reading this post, I can’t see anything wrong with your argument at all. It is a shockingly high wage to pay someone in an era of austerity. Even if he isn’t working for a Council, he was still employed by someone known for promoting cuts and efficiencies.

  2. Not just “wild overspends” in general – Pickles has specifically criticised (mostly on the basis of false information) “mega salaries” for top executives in general. Presumably next time he does so, councils can just reply that “Clearly, however large that salary is, the consequence of not running our council in a sound way would have been far greater” and get off the hook immediately.

  3. So the inference is that if you do not pay £36,000 a month, you finances will not be run soundly.

    Does that mean that every council in England (from which we would assume Pickles wants sound finances) should be paying that sum?

    Maybe if we paid Gideon that kind of money he wouldn’t make a complete arse of the UK’s finances?

  4. Fat, smug, two-faced, vindictive Pickles vies with Camoron and Gideon for having the most punchable face in England.

  5. So, were are all in this together, are we? The art of a polititian is to talk for hours and actually say nothing. So were are all in this together, are we?

  6. Shocking and silly.

    I suspect there will be more of these types of stories from DCLG early next year. Perhaps with hindsight Eric will admit he got rid of too many staff and too quickly and now perhaps DCLG are struggling – Time for a plan B? – but this seems to be employ expensive temps and contractors!

    I will be tacking this issue in the New Year.

  7. The perk in my job is I don’t get killed or injured and get home in one piece, now after 4 or more pay cuts and more to follow, a labourer in the public sector is becoming worthless.

  8. This says it all!
    Pickles has been relentless in taking councils to task on CEO pay – generally without listening to the complete story. Indeed his comments on a former CEO in the South West were simply lies as well he knew.Now of course his silence on THIS matter is deafening.
    The man is a dishonest politician. Bob Neill likewise. Shame they don’t apply the same ‘rules’ across the board.

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