Rich list reveals 80 NHS chiefs paid more than Gordon Brown

At least 350 NHS executives in hospitals and primary care trusts were paid more than £150,000 last year, according to new research.

A “Public Sector Rich List”, compiled by the TaxPayers’ Alliance and covering 350 public bodies, shows that 806 executives collected more than £150,000, with eight on packages worth more than £1 million.

The list, which covers Whitehall departments, quangos and nationalised industries, shows that average pay among those identified was £225,000, with 120 chiefs on more than £250,000. More than 250 quango heads were on more than £150,000 in 2008-09. Nearly 80 NHS executives earned more than the Prime Minister.

At a time when all three main parties are proposing a squeeze on public sector pay, salaries at the top have been shooting up, the figures show. While some private companies froze or cut pay, that of the 800 public sector chiefs identified rose by 5.4 per cent, the TaxPayers’ Alliance says.

George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, has already pledged to publish the salaries of all public sector staff earning more than £150,000 if the Tories win power. He has also said that anyone earning more than the Prime Minister’s salary of £194,000 would need his approval.

Many of the highest earners in the list include present and former employees of recently nationalised banks. Mark Fisher, former executive director of Royal Bank of Scotland, tops the list with a package of £1.39 million. Sir Fred Goodwin, the bank’s former chief executive, was on £1.3 million.

Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, said: “With 806 public sector employees taking home more than £180 million a year between them, it is clear that even in these difficult times, profligacy at the top of the public sector lives on.”

The NHS figures show substantial rises for some staff as trusts compete for the best managers. Nearly 60 NHS chiefs earn more than the Prime Minister, with one said to be earning nearly twice as much. A further 290 earn more than £150,000.

Professor Salman Rawaf, who recently retired as director of public health at Wandsworth Primary Care Trust in West London, earned £370,000 last year, comprising a salary of £150,000 and £175,000 of other remuneration.

Sian Thomas, director of NHS Employers, said that many of the individuals’ pay combined salary and clinical excellence awards, all set nationally. “Pay of senior managers in NHS organisations is set by their remuneration committees and boards,” she said. “Therefore these arrangements will vary. Across the public sector the practice of linking remuneration to performance varies.”

Philip Hammond, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: “Nobody objects to paying public sector executives properly if they are delivering excellent results for the taxpayer. But over the last decade, public sector pay has risen while performance has languished. Under a Conservative government, only those who deliver value for the taxpayer can expect high salaries.”

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