9,000 public wages 'outstrip PM's'
More than 9,000 employees working in the public sector are paid more than the Prime Minister, figures show.
An investigation by BBC One's Panorama and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism suggested the numbers earning more than David Cameron's £142,500-a-year are significantly higher than previously thought.
The findings by the programme will heighten the controversy already raging over comparative pay levels in the public and private sectors.
Based on the responses to more than 2,400 Freedom of Information requests to public bodies, they show that 38,000 were paid over £100,000 while 1,000 received over £200,000. They include GPs, teachers, police chiefs, council officers and senior civil servants, as well as senior managers in the BBC itself.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude insisted that it should not be necessary to offer "stupendous amounts" of money in the public sector.
"You can square the circle of having really good people not on telephone number salaries and massive built-in bonuses," he told the programme. "That public service ethos is very important. People will come and work in a public sector for salaries that aren't competitive in a private sector sense."
The NHS was the sector found to have the the highest number of staff earning over £100,000 - 26,000 - with almost 6,500 paid more than the Prime Minister.
Those with salaries topping the PM's included 1,465 GPs - 10 of whom received more than £300,000. The highest earner was an unnamed GP working for the Hillingdon Primary Care Trust with pay of £475,500.
In the education sector, 385 teachers in England earn more than £100,000 and 17 get more than the Prime Minister. The best paid was an unnamed teacher from Essex on £232,500, followed by Mark Elms, the head teacher of Tidemill Primary School in Lewisham, south east London, on £231,400.
A total of 196 police officers across the UK receive more than £100,000, with 45 earning more than the Prime Minister, headed by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson on £280,489.