It's not only business tycoons like Lakshmi Mittal ruling the richie-rich club of Britain, but people of Indian origin are also making it big among the top-earning local council officials of the United Kingdom.
According to a new list of highest paid government officials in various local councils of the UK, Indian-origin Darra Singh has found a place among the top ten in terms of their local authority remuneration packages. There are at least half a dozen Indian origin council officials in the UK earning at least 100,000 pounds a year.
Ealing Council Chief Executive Singh, whose mother is said to have shifted base from Punjab in India to the UK about 50 years ago, also figures among the 14 local authority officials earning more than the Prime Minister Gordon Brown and has bagged the third biggest pay hike among all the officials of more than 450 councils in the country that were considered for the study.
The "Town Hall Rich List" has been published by an independent taxation campaign group Tax Payers' Alliance (TPA) and includes 818 council officials with total remuneration in excess of 1,00,000 pounds for the year 2006-07.
The TPA study, which is based on information collected using Freedom of Information Act (FIA), has named Peter Gould, outgoing chief executive of Northamptonshire council, as the highest paid with an annual remuneration of 215,000 pounds.
Singh has been ranked at eighth position with a package of 195,000 pounds for the year 2006-07, which represented a 58.8 per cent increase from 123,099 pounds in the previous year.
This is third biggest hike for all officials mentioned in the list after Northampton Council Chief Mairi Mclean (64 per cent) and Redcar and Cleveland Council's Children's Services Director Jennifer Lewis (59.8 per cent).
The 10 most paid people in local authorities, including Singh, earn on average around 10 times the amount earned by someone starting out as a police officer, nurse or soldier.
Earlier this month, the US magazine
had named Indian-origin steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal as the richest person in the UK with a net worth of 45 billion dollars.
However, Mittal's wealth was mostly based on value of his shareholdings, while the TPA's Rich List is about the annual salary package of local authority officials.
Other persons of Indian origin in the TPA's rich list include Greenwich Council's Director of Culture and Community Services Gurmel Singh Kandola with a package of 117,689 pounds. Kandola got a 2.9 per cent hike over 114,309 pounds in 2005-06.
Other persons of Indian origin on the Town Hall Rich List include Nottingham Council's Corporate Director (Neighbourhood Services) Manjeet Gill with 100,037 pounds remuneration (down 0.4 per cent from previous year), Stoke-on-Trent Council Director HS Bhogal (125,237 pounds), Swindon council's Business Transformation Group Director Hitesh Patel (102961 pounds) and Waltham Forest council's Executive Director R Badrinath - Corporate Services (118679 pounds).
Last year, TPA had produced the first ever list of the richest people in local government and this is the second such list.
"Unlike companies in the private sector and other public sector bodies, local authorities do not make executive remuneration details publicly available in their annual accounts. The TPA has, therefore, had to compile the list through Freedom of Information requests to every local authority. A recalcitrant minority still refuse to provide this information, on highly questionable grounds," TPA said.
TPA said there are six people in town halls earning more than 200,000 pounds a year and there are 14 people in local authorities earning more than the Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who earns 188,849 pounds, including his MP's salary.
"There are 132 people in local authorities earning more than cabinet ministers, who earn 137,579 pounds, including their MPs' salaries," it further noted.
TPA said, the people who are on its list for both 2005-06 and 2006-07 had an average pay rise of 4.6 per cent, which is over twice the current 2 per cent government target for growth in pay for ordinary public sector workers.
"The average total remuneration of the 818 people on the list is 120,938 pounds per annum. This works out at over 2,300 pounds a week."
The study found that the number of people earning above 100,000 pounds in local authorities is increasing rapidly. There were 818 people on these remuneration packages in 2006-07, compared with 645 in 2005-06, an increase of 27 per cent.