TOP council officers should volunteer to cut their salaries in solidarity with low paid employees, the council has moved.

Councillors from all parties backed a motion introduced by Conservative Ben Hebb at a meeting of the council last week, calling on the chief executive to ask senior officers to volunteer a five per cent.

According to the council’s own officers, this would save the authority £100,000, which Mr Hebb said should go to those who are “exceptional in delivery.”

He said: “I have every sympathy for people whose pay rises don’t reflect the price hike of a loaf of wholemeal Hovis but what I cannot and will not sympathise with is that we should give a thought to those who earn substantial salaries while leaving people feeling that strike action is actually the only way to go.”

Deputy leader Barbara Rice supported the motion but said she felt bound to point out the hard work done by senior officers.

She said: “In these times where there are no sacred cows, I believe it is reasonable to ask all members of staff including senior members of staff to consider ways of saving money.

“But I have to remind people and Councillor Hebb that, in my portfolio, we’ve already saved over £100,000 in senior management, for example instead of having two heads of service, we now have only one conducting the same amount of work and I can tell you now that they work in excess of 60 hours per week to achieve that, so I commend my portfolio officers.”

Leader John Kent added senior officers had not received a pay increase since 2009 and, following the introduction of a new pay scheme in 2010, many had seen their pay cut as well as car allowances and bonuses.

He added senior management now costs the council £844,000 per year – 38 per cent less than in 2010.

The motion was passed.

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