Residents of Southampton were left shocked and appalled last week as the Daily Echo revealed that the City Council had paid over £85,000 in bonuses to senior council officials on top of their six figure salaries.
Calls for the resignation of the leader of the Council, Ken Thornber, have followed after he originally claimed that no staff had recieved bonuses.
The Daily Echo also revealed that Councillor Thornber had paid himself over £40,000 in council allowances last financial year.
Seven top council officials have recieved the bonuses, up to £15,000, on top of their approximate £155,000 salaries. The bonuses were not written in to any of the officials’ contracts and Councillor Thornber insisted that the authority did not give any staff bonuses.
However, the Daily Echo revealed, after accessing details of council salaries follwing new rules brought in forcing local councils to publish details of salaries and payments to staff earning over £155,000, that payments were made. Councillor Thornber then issued a released a statement saying that he had issued the payments follwing a favourable external assessment, and described them as ‘special recognition payments’.
The scandal will no doubt hit a sore spot for many tax-payers who have lost faith in politics following last year’s national expenses scandal.
Southampton residents have attacked Councillor Thornber, with one saying: ‘Defend yourself and justify these non-contracted payments or resign. An absolute disgrace… snouts in the trough again.’
Another resident, Paramjit Bahia, commented: ‘Demanding sacrifices from ordinary workers while handing over more than what some low paid workers may only take home after a whole year of hard labour can’t possibly be right.’
The Council ahve already announced that they plan to cut next year’s budget by almost £14 million next year.
What do you think about the payment of bonuses? Should Councillor Thornber resign after denying them? Do all public sector workers have a right to be rewarded for their work? Or do you feel that as a non tax-payer these issues are not relevant to students? Leave us your comments below: