MORE than half a million pounds of taxpayers’ money has been spent on the salaries of just five staff members at the Isle of Wight Council.

The highest earner was chief executive John Metcalfe, who earned £127,513 in 2017/18, the most recent figures available. Mr Metcalfe also received a pension of £29,965.

The salaries were revealed by the TaxPayers’ Alliance in their annual ‘Town Hall Rich List’.

A further two staff members were paid more than £100,000 — director of regeneration, Chris Ashman, and director of adult social services, Carol Tozer.

Including pension payments, the council spent more than £750,000 on the five staff members.

The director of public health was paid a salary of £97,366, with a pension of £13,995. However, that role is now vacant and being filled by Hampshire County Council on an interim basis.

The local authority’s head of resources at the time, Claire Shand, earned £83,894, plus more than £1,000 in expenses. She was also paid a pension of £17,954.

An Isle of Wight Council spokesperson said the salaries, particularly Mr Metcalfe’s, were below average when compared with many across the country.

The spokesperson said: “Isle of Wight Council operations are equivalent to that of a large-scale business, spending over £430 million a year in the delivery of public services and must generate some £40m a year in income.

“The chief executive and his senior management team are responsible for managing this to deliver the outcomes needed by Islanders.

“The recruitment of a chief executive and associated salary was agreed by Full Council on September 2, 2015, following a recommendation from the employment committee as being the ‘market rate’ for the role.

“All other salaries are set in accordance with the council’s published pay policy, ratified by full council each year.”

He said salaries had only increased in-line with the national local government pay award, which had been less than inflation for the last three years following a three-year pay freeze.

The spokesperson added: “The employment committee took into consideration previous chief executive salaries at the council of £161,553 in 2006 and £149,997 in 2008.”

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