Nearly 200 employees were paid more than £50,000 last year by Richmond Council with seven taking home more than £100,000, we can reveal.

The council – along with all authorities around the country – has opened up its annual accounts for the press and public to view and it showed 183 members of staff were paid in excess of £50,000 in the year ending March 31.

The revelation was described by the TaxPayers’ Alliance as scandalous.

The number of employees – which includes teaching staff – has risen from 159 in 2007/08 and workers who have picked up redundancy or compensation packages to take their pay above £50,000 are included.

The top earners at Richmond Council – believed to be chief executive Gillian Norton – was bracketed in the £170,000 to £179,999 wage band, with one other member of staff earning between £160,000 and £169,999, and five other picking up between £100,000 and £129,999.

In 2007/08, only six staff earned more than £100,000 with no-one taking home more than £169,999.

Matthew Elliott, chief executive at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “With ordinary taxpayers facing redundancy and pay cuts, these council wages are scandalous and out of all kilter with what’s going on in the rest of the economy.

“Councils should be cutting back on executive pay and perks in order to deliver savings to taxpayers and fund much needed public services.

“Many councils across the country have singularly failed to economise in the recession, and should be tightening their belts like the rest of us.”

In neighbouring Kingston, 170 staff earned more than £50,000 last year– with 11 taking home more than £100,000 and the top earner picking up more than £170,000 – and 179 did so the year before, with six picking up more than £100,000.

Continued from page 1 In Hounslow, 128 employees took home more than £50,000 last year – with 12 picking up more than £100,000 and the top wage being between £150,000 and £159,999 – while 98 did so the year before, with 10 earning more than £100,000.

Kingston Council’s accounts revealed the authority spent £167.7m on “cash paid to and on behalf of employees” in 2008/09 and £160.5m the year before, in Hounslow £278.8m was spent last year and £273.5m in 2007/08.

A Richmond Council spokesman said the authority spent £113m on staff in total last year.

Councillor Serge Lourie, leader of Richmond Council, said: “Richmond Council has to compete to attract the best people to manage our local schools and services. I am satisfied that in our borough we strike the right balance in terms of what we pay senior council officers and teaching staff and the quality of services we deliver.

“We are also recognised by both our residents and Audit Commission as one of the best and most efficient councils in the country. Even so we pay our senior managers below the London and private sector average for comparable posts.”