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87 public servants in UK earn more than Blair

November 03, 2006 21:08 IST

As many as 87 public sector servants in the United Kingdom, including a leading NRI financial wizard Zarin Patel, earn more than British Prime Minister Tony Blair, according to the first 'Public Sector Rich List' released on Friday.

Patel, group finance director of BBC earns £324,000 ($618,277) while Blair earns just £183,932 ($350,966) per annum. After graduating in economics from the London School of Economics in 1982, Patel had trained as a chartered accountant with financial consultant KPMG. She joined the BBC in 1998.

The first Public Sector Rich List, compiled by the Taxpayers' Alliance, shows that 87 public servants earn more than Blair and 171 take home more than £150,000 a year.

The high-earners include executives of big public sector corporations, including the BBC, Royal Mail and Network Rail, as well as NHS bosses.

The highest paid of all is Bob Kiley, the Commissioner of Transport for London, who was brought from New York by London Mayor Ken Livingstone to turn around the capital's transport.

The American earned £1,146,425 last year, despite a controversial reign that has ended with his acting as a part-time consultant to the mayor. "London's transport network, which is vital to the economy of the capital and the UK, is now in the best health for decades," a spokesman said.

The second highest earner is Adam Crozier, the group chief executive of Royal Mail, on £1.038 million last year.

The former Football Association boss has turned Royal Mail from a loss-making enterprise to a profitable one, but has run into criticism for increasing the price of stamps and canceling the second delivery. He is followed by John Armitt, chief executive, Network Rail who earned £1,027,000.

Of the top ten public sector earners, three work for Royal Mail, with David Mills, the chief executive of the Post Office, on £816,000 despite the furore over closing rural branches. A Royal Mail spokesman said that it did not comment on executive pay.

Media executives are well represented, led by Mark Thompson, Director-General of the BBC, on £619,000 followed by Kevin Lygo, the director of television at the state-owned Channel 4, on £565,000.

Ten BBC employees earned more than £287,000 last year, while 13 members of the communications regulator Ofcom getting over £177,639.

The most politically sensitive salaries are in the National Health Service, where hospital deficits are leading to job losses. Richard Granger, chief executive of IT for the NHS, earned £285,000 followed by Nigel Crisp, permanent secretary at the Department of Health, on £215,000.

Matthew Elliott, the chief executive of the Taxpayers' Alliance said: "Taxpayers will be shocked at the scale of these pay awards. Large numbers of people in the public sector are effectively being paid City salaries. It is not surprising that taxes keep going up when the salaries for the public sector's top salaries keep rocketing."

The government insisted that pay levels were needed to recruit and retain quality staff. A spokesperson said: An effective pay policy will retain, recruit and motivate staff delivering public services."

Alan Duncan, the Shadow Trade Secretary said: "The world has gone mad. People should be rewarded for their competence and the risks they take. A lot of these payments seem crazily out of kilter."

Some of the highest earners were leaders of little-known or troubled public agencies.

Stephen Geraghty, the chief executive of the Child Support Agency, earned £180,000. James Stewart, chief executive of Partnerships UK, which encourages private sector investment in the public sector, earned £443,000.

Stephen Inglis, of the National Biological Standards Board, earned £150,000.

No Cabinet ministers, who earn £135,495 make the list apart from the Prime Minister. Blair is 88th between Clare Dodgson, chief executive of the Legal Services Commission, in £188,000 and Vanessa Lawrence, director general of Ordnance Survey, on £185,000.

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