New Suffolk County Council chief still likely to earn more than Prime Minister

The new chief executive of Suffolk County Council is likely to earn about �160,000 – �60,000 less than the salary paid to the authority's previous boss Andrea Hill but still more than the prime minister.

The council's appointments board is set to agree a salary band for the new chief executive at its meeting next week. The board is also expected to appoint an interim chief executive to take the helm until a new full-time chief arrives.

Senior councillors are looking to approve a basic salary of about �160,000, considerably less than the controversial �218,000-a-year Mrs Hill earned before she resigned from the authority earlier this month.

The figure proposed has been described by a senior source at the council as being 'in line' with the salary paid to Mrs Hill's predecessor Mike More before he moved to Westminster City Council in 2008. He earned about �150,000.

Over the last 18 months there has been increasing pressure for councils to reduce the pay of their top officers.

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Local government and communities secretary Eric Pickles said councils should consult his department before appointing anyone on more the Prime Minister – �142,500.

In Suffolk, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrat Kathy Pollard, said: 'I cannot see why we should pay any more than the salary of the prime minister and I have spoken to Mark Bee about this.

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'I really hope there is a re-think and we should look to settle on a lower figure than this.'

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Daniel Poulter said any salary above that of the Prime Minister's would be unacceptable – and the county's MPs would lobby Mr Pickles to ensure that the band was reduced.

He said: 'I shall be getting in touch with Mark Bee as soon as possible to find out what the situation is.

'If they are looking at �160,000 I think it would be a massive error for the county council which has got a lot of goodwill for the changes that have come in recently.'

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