THREE borough council employees took home six-figure salaries last year, despite the top earner being paid 10 per cent less.

Figures released this week by the Taxpayers’ Alliance reveal the highest paid council staff across the country, listed in the annual Town Hall Rich List.

The list shows that more than two-and-a-half thousand council employees were paid more than £100,000 in 2018/19, including three at Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC).

Chief executive Roger Tetstall and two corporate directors, who were not named, feature in the list.

Mr Tetstall banked a £124,000 basic salary – down from £138,000 the year before – as well as £8,000 in expenses. Both corporate directors were paid £103,000 each – up from £101,000 the year before. They also took home £6,000 and £7,000 in expenses.

A spokesperson for the council said: “During 2018/19, three of the council’s employees received remuneration in excess of £100,000.

"While we recognise that many other authorities match and further exceed these salaries, the council has always had a policy of paying competitive salaries across the board in order to attract good quality staff to serve the people of Test Valley.

"This was reflected by a higher pay rise last year for members of staff not in senior posts. ”

The spokesperson also noted that the authority is “constantly reviewing its finances” to ensure residents get good value for money and that the council’s current taxation is £41 lower than the country’s average.

The Town Hall Rich List also shows that 16 Hampshire County Council employees were paid more than £100,000 last year.

Chief executive John Coughlan was the top earner, bagging £220,518 – up 2 per cent from £216,195 the previous year.

Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Corporate Resources, Carolyn Williamson was paid £187,700, up more than 4 per cent year on year. Director of Adults’ Health & Care, Graham Allen and Director of Children’s Services, Steve Crocker were paid £156,075, up from £153,015.

A total of 16 county council employees feature on the list, although that marks a slight drop on the 19 that were named last year.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance is now calling for a freeze on council tax and authorities’ spending to be focused on frontline services amid the coronavirus crisis.

Chief executive John O’Connell said: “The coronavirus crisis means that frontline council services are more crucial than ever, but at the same time household budgets face an enormous squeeze from crushing council tax rises.

“There are plenty of talented people in local authorities who are focused on delivering more for less, but that is needed across the board. The country needs every council to cut out waste and prioritise key services without resorting to punishing tax hikes on their residents. These figures should shine a light on the town hall bosses who’ve got it right, but also allow taxpayers to hold to account those who aren’t delivering value for money at this critical time.”