PUBLIC spending cutbacks have finally hit council chiefs’ pay packets, with many fewer earning six-figure sums than last year.

According to the TaxPayers’ Alliance’s Town Hall Rich List published today (Tuesday, August 5), the number of North-East and North Yorkshire council workers earning more than £100,000 fell by 15 between 2011-12 and 2012-13, from 127 to 112.

Supporters said the annual survey proved all involved in the public sector were feeling the hit under the Government’s huge local government spending cuts.

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However, Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) – which campaigns for tax and spending cuts, said savings were being used on senior pay deals.

“Nearly 100 local authority employees in the North-East received more than £100,000 last year, meaning that the top brass are in receipt of pay, perks and redundancy deals that hard-pressed taxpayers can only dream of.

“Many rank-and-file staff in local councils will be equally appalled – at a time when councils across the country are freezing pay, it appears the money they’re saving is being used on senior pay deals.

“It’s high time that executives led from the front and exercised pay restraint, so that they can retain the moral authority to make cuts to wasteful spending.”

The study comes days after it emerged the pay of Philip Morton, chief executive at Hambleton District Council, had risen by 25 per cent in two years, from £100,000 to £125,000.

According to the TPA, Durham remains the council in the region with the most staff paid more than £100,000 – 19, putting it 14th highest nationally, although the figure has fallen by three from last year.

Liberal Democrats have called for the authority’s assistant chief executive post to be abolished, along with one directorship.

Sunderland appears to have made the biggest cuts (14 £100,000-plus earners down to eight), while the total actually rose at Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Stockton.

The region’s highest paid individual was Ian Parker, then chief executive at Middlesbrough, although he retired from his £152,000 job during the year and £304,154 of his total earning of £379,260 was in pension contributions.

Four North-East executives earned more than £250,000, up from one the previous year.