A Tory councillor has raised concerns over salaries paid by Wirral Council.

Conservative councillor Jenny Johnson, who represents West Kirby and Thurstaston, queried numbers she seemed to find alarming at last night's meeting of Wirral Council’s Audit and Risk Management Committee.

Cllr Johnson said: “If that’s the actual numbers, my question is why are the numbers increasing so substantially at the top end of that pay bracket in a time of covid, in a time of difficulty within the council why are we having so many people ... for instance 12 people rather than six last year on £80-85,000, we’ve got seven on £90-95,000, four on £100-£105,000, these are really large salaries.

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“Lots of people in Wirral are struggling, they’re struggling to make ends meet.

“If this is raw data then they will be asking questions quite rightly [of] why the council is hiring so many people at such enormous salaries.”

Diane Grisdale, Wirral Council’s senior finance manager, said Cllr Johnson’s point was noted and that she would go away and look into the numbers.

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The Tory councillor was picking up on figures in the council’s draft statement of accounts, which showed that from 2019/20-2020/21 the number of council employees earning over £50,000 had risen from 324-392.

While there were less officials in some of the higher income brackets, such as six people rather than 10 earning £85,001-£90,000, there were several notable rises.

Cllr Johnson referred to the rise in those earning £80,001-£85,000.

As well as this, the figure she cited of seven earning £90,001-£95,000 had risen from three in the year before, while the £100,001-£105,000 bracket included four employees as opposed to two last year.

At the meeting, councillors also discussed a paper comparing Wirral Council’s position to authorities which had effectively gone bust over the last two years, including Croydon Council and Slough Council.

Members heard that few of the problems which existed in these local authorities existed in Wirral, although the council was advised that it needs to increase its level of reserves to be more financially secure.