THE highest-paid employee at Wiltshire Council earns 11.2 times the wages of the lowest, a new report shows.

The council’s annual pay policy statement shows that the highest-paid earns £139,000 compared with the lowest, who earn the full-time equivalent of £12,435.

Two corporate directors at Wiltshire Council are listed on its website as earning between £138,000 and £143,000. These are Carlton Brand and Maggie Rae.

The figures mean the ratio is within the guidelines of the Hutton Review of Fair Pay in the Public Sector, which recommended that the highest paid person should earn no more than 20 times the lowest.

The pay policy statement was set to be discussed by the staffing policy committee yesterday (January 8) along with a proposal for the council to adopt the hourly Living Wage rate, which is currently £7.65 per hour.

This was proposed by Councillor Jeff Osborn, an Independent member, who said he was pleased it was being considered. Cllr Osborn, who has been a stern critic of pay and allowances increases for top officers and Cabinet members, said of the Living Wage: “If finally adopted, it will reduce some of the inequality between the lowest and highest salaries on Wiltshire Council.”

The pay policy statement, which covers 5,000 staff and not the 7,800 council employees working in schools, shows the average salary is £23,991.

The statement says pay for the 85 top jobs at the council, which was reviewed last year, is at the “median market rate”. New employees may also receive help with “relocation expenses” and non-senior employees regularly working unsocial hours can be paid allowances of up to 33 per cent.

Pay increases are nationally negotiated, although trade unions are consulted locally about travel expenses, overtime and grading.

During the summer, the council ran a voluntary redundancy programme in which 252 frontline staff left the organisation.

Seven of the council’s 18 associate directors also took voluntary redundancy, while the remaining associate directors saw their wages rise on average by 7.5 per cent.