Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Commission is needed to investigate ‘fat cats’

A Top Pay Commission should be set up to investigate ‘fat cat’ salaries in the public sector and name and shame organisations that pay too much to senior officials, a committee of MPs said today.

The House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee said that a growing gulf between the salaries of council and quango chiefs and the average earnings of their staff was not, “sustainable or desirable” in a time of recession.

In a report published today, it recommended the publication of the pay of all public servants earning more than £100,000.

But the committee dismissed calls to cap public sector pay at the £198,000 level of the Prime Minister's salary as, “little more than a political stunt”, which would be unlikely to deliver better value for money to the taxpayer.

Any highly-paid public servants who fail to perform effectively, “should face the very real prospect of losing their jobs without any kind of generous pay-off”, said the report.

But the MPs said it would be “particularly damaging” if talented managers left the public sector because of pay reductions that were modest in comparison with the savings they are able to deliver for the taxpayer.

The MPs blamed soaring senior salaries in public bodies in part on “contagion” from the private sector, where massive rises for top executives have become the norm.