City chief faces pay cut under Labour plans for election

Sue Bruce: faces salary cut if Labour has way. Picture: Julie Bull
Sue Bruce: faces salary cut if Labour has way. Picture: Julie Bull
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The city council chief executive would be forced to take a pay cut under new proposals revealed today by Labour.

Sue Bruce would see her £158,500 salary trimmed — albeit by only £1,250 — as part of the party’s election pledge to narrow the gap between the highest and lowest earners.

Labour has stated that if it wins control of the Capital in the council elections on May 3, no employee at the local authority will earn more than 12 times the salary of the lowest paid.

The plans would be brought into force after the introduction of the proposed £7.20 living wage, which Labour and unions have made repeated calls for in recent years.

Mrs Bruce is the only senior management figure at the council earning above the 1:12 ratio.

Labour said effectively capping the salary of senior directors would lead to a sense of fairness in the council and stated Mrs Bruce would take the pay cut within the next two years.

Launching the manifesto alongside Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont today, Edinburgh group leader Andrew Burns said: “This sets a precedent that never again will the highest paid get more than 12 times the wage of the lowest paid.”

More than 1800 council workers would see their pay increase under the living wage proposals, with full-time staff taking home no less than £13,100, which Councillor Burns said would make a “big difference to those on the lowest wages”. He said the estimated £3.3 million cost of the move was “entirely affordable”.

The manifesto also commits Labour to the introduction of a “co-operative council” in which community groups and service users would be given a greater role in local issues, from the upkeep of parks to home care for the elderly.

Funds for running parks would be handed to local residents, while voluntary organisations which provide home help – as well as people using the service – would decide how the system should be run. Edinburgh, the first city in Scotland to join the Co-operative Councils Network, would follow the lead of local authorities such as Croydon, where service users sit on the board of the council’s care service.

Andrew Burns also outlined plans to introduce a public petitions process, already in place at Holyrood and Westminister, where councillors would debate petitions which had gained support from residents.

He pointed to the fact that the manifesto document itself has been re-drafted following a six-month consultation with 120 organisations and more than 1000 individual responses.

Councillor Burns said there was a need to “restore trust in politicians.”

n The Evening News will be putting every party leader on the spot in the run-up to the council elections — but we also want to put your questions to them. If you have a burning query for any of the political parties then email it to edelect@edinburghnews.com