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Kent County Council has more middle managers on £50k or more than almost any other authority

County Hall, the headquarters of Kent County Council

Kent County Council employs more people on salaries of more than £50,000 than all but one other authority in the country, a report claims.

According to a survey of middle managers employed by local councils by the Taxpayers' Alliance, KCC has 491 staff earning above the figure - the second highest in the country.

The total cost to the taxpayer of the combined salaries at that level was £32,002,500 in 2011-12 - representing a drop of just £110,000 in pay for the previous year.

Only Birmingham City Council has more, at 648. In Essex, the figure is 434 and in East Sussex, 409.

At the same time, the survey does show that KCC has now 38 fewer employees on earnings of £50,000 or more last year although the council says that has now risen to 50.

The figures exclude school staff.

The chief executive of the Taxpayers' Alliance, Matthew Sinclair, said:

"Taxpayers are still paying far too much for bloated bureaucracies that have been established in too many town halls over the last decade.

Money stock picture"Councillors need to insist that their local authority does more to find savings and cut back on staff costs that residents cannot afford."

KCC underwent a major re-organisation under a project known as "The Change To Keep Succeeding" programme three years ago.

The initiative was aimed at slimming down the authority and streamlining the workforce.

At the same time, council budget cuts caused by the government's austerity regime have meant that the council has shed 1,500 staff in recent years.

In Medway, the number of staff earning £50,000 or more fell by 20 to 96 last year, with total remuneration for those staff costing the public purse £6,235,000.

Roger Gough, KCC cabinet member for business strategy, performance and health reform, said that between March 2010 and March 2012, the number of staff on salaries of £50,000 and above dropped from 541 to 491 - a reduction of about 9%.

Over the same period, the number on salaries of £100,000 and above dropped from 22 to 15, a reduction of almost a third (32%).

He added: "The number of employees being paid salaries of £50,000 and above is expected to be higher in Kent than in other councils as it is the largest shire authority in the country.

"If KCC is to serve its residents effectively, it must pay appropriate salaries for the level of responsibility it expects staff to take on."

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