The number of middle managers in Midlands councils (ie those receiving £50,000 a year or more, excluding pension contributions) has gone up considerably despite a public sector pay freeze and widespread redundancies among lower-paid staff, analysis of current figures has shown.

According to the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA), the estimated total bill for local authority staff in the Midlands on £50,000-plus remuneration packages was over £465m in 2010/11, an increase of more than 14 per cent in a year. And the number of middle managers went up from 6,474 in 2009/10 to 7,265 in 2010/11, an increase of more than 12 per cent.

By region, the figures showed that Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) paid 679 staff £50,000 or more in 2010/11, an increase of 202 in 12 months – this was said to have cost local taxpayers over £45m. Also, although NCC and Derbyshire County Council cover very similar-sized populations, Nottinghamshire had nearly five times as many staff on £50,000 or more as Derbyshire.

At the same time, Warwickshire County Council had over four times as many staff over the threshold than similarly-sized Worcestershire County Council, and Birmingham City Council spent nearly than £37m on middle managers in 2010/11 while Leicestershire County Council, which covers nearly 400,000 fewer residents than Birmingham, spent nearly £35m.

The figures also showed that Shropshire Council increased the number of staff on £50,000-plus by 95 in the last financial year, taking the cost from £11m to nearly £18m, Sandwell Council’s spend on middle managers rose from £6.7m to £11.4m, and North East Derbyshire District Council more than doubled its spend in this area in 2010/11.

TPA director Matthew Sinclair said: “It is disappointing to see so many middle managers at Midlands councils, particularly at a time when public sector pay is being restrained and low paid staff are being laid off. It’s not fair to demand that ordinary workers take a pay freeze or lose their jobs while more and more middle managers are enjoying generous remuneration.

“Councils need to cut back the bloated bureaucracies that have developed in town halls in recent years. Taxpayers in places like Stoke-on-Trent will be particularly disappointed that their local authority claims it has no alternative but to increase Council Tax but goes on to spend so much on employing so many high earners.”