Wage war on secrecy
I’D hate to have the details of my salary splashed all over The Evening Telegraph. I don’t have anything to hide, it’s just none of your business.
I also wouldn’t want a picture of me in my under crackers appearing in the paper either (you’ve definitely got nothing to hide there – Mrs T).
But if I was a male model I might think differently about displaying my wares. And if I worked in the public sector and was funded directly by the taxpayer I might think differently about my pay packet being on public show.
I wonder how those seven Peterborough City Council employees feel after it was revealed in The ET that between them they take home close to a million pounds each year?
There is an important reason why their salaries should be public knowledge – and that is so we, the taxpayers, can make a judgement on the value (or lack of it) we are getting for our £1million.
If chief executive Gillian Beasley was paid £500,000 a year, most of us would think that was excessive. But without knowing what she earns we can’t even begin to make an assessment whether it’s reasonable or not.
Now I don’t happen to believe their salaries are outrageous. That said, I don’t expect to bump into any of the magnificent seven in my local pound shop any time soon.
But if I was one of the seven and was questioned about my salary, I would stick my chest out proudly and, in the words of that great philosopher L’Oreal of Paris, proclaim: “Because I’m worth it’’.
Aside from an understandable (but as public servants not justifiable) desire for privacy surely their only cause for concern would be if they knew they were so over-paid public exposure would swiftly lead to a pay cut so severe that it would make even our new chancellor gulp.
A selfish reason, of course, but you don’t expect turkeys to vote for Christmas (although I’m sure at the moment there are a few Lib Dem voters who are feeling they did just that).
The city council is to be applauded for its openness on this issue although it contrasts sharply on the foggy veil it insists on drawing over details about the £12 million annual spending on consultants.
The release of the details about top earners’ pay suggests the council doesn’t think it has anything to hide or justify. I think they are right.
So why I wonder is there not the same openness when it comes to the vast sums the council is paying consultants?