MORE than 150 senior council executives pocketed pay and perks packages in excess of £100,000 in the North-East and North Yorkshire, figures reveal today.

Right-wing pressure group The Taxpayers’ Alliance’s (TPA) sixth annual Town Hall Rich List shows 3,097 local government workers were awarded six-figure sums in 2010-11 – up 13 per cent on the previous year – and 162 of those were in this region.

The top earners named were Roger Kelly, who retired as Gateshead chief executive in March, on £252,838; and Durham’s George Garlick, on £243,728.

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Northumberland had the most staff earning six-figure packages, with 24 – three more than Durham.

Nationally, 52 staff received more than £250,000 – up from 45 in 2009-10; 658 received between £150,000 and £250,000; and 1,146 received between £90,000 and £100,000; The Rich List comes as the GMB union claims 214,000 council workers have lost their jobs since December 2010 and the UK teeters on the brink of a double-dip recession.

The Northern Echo: Council staff paid more than £100,000Matthew Elliott, TPA chief executive, said: “Taxpayers will be astonished that so many council employees are still getting such a generous deal while everyone else in the public sector is facing a pay freeze.

“The Town Hall Rich List shows that while some councils insist cuts can only mean pressure on frontline services, some clearly have cash in the bank when it comes to paying their own senior staff.”

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “It proves there is significant scope to save taxpayers’ money by tackling the culture of dodgy pay deals and boomerang bosses that was the norm under Labour.”

However, a Local Government Association spokesman said councils were committed to providing value for money, were slashing management costs and £1.4bn had been cut from the pay bill in a year.

The increase in six-figure packages was due to a spike in one-off redundancy payments, he added.

Heather Wakefield, Unison’s head of local government, accused the TPA of trying to undermine trust in public spending and public services.

Two-thirds of council workers earned less than £21,000 and a three-year pay freeze was deeply unfair, she said.

However, attacking top pay would not help as councils had to pay “the going rate” to attract the best, said Ms Wakefield.