According to the latest analysis, 43 per cent of local authority chief executives are paid more than the Prime Minister.

The average total pay for chief executives last year was £147,934 while David Cameron is paid £142,500, Incomes Data Services (IDS) claimed after surveying over 300 councils in England and Wales.

Nasreen Rahman, principal researcher of IDS’s senior executive pay in local government 2011, said: “With nearly half of all local authority chief executives earning more than the Prime Minister, clearly, in the current climate, town hall bosses will be facing tough questions from council tax payers.”

However, Rahman did add that salary increases for chief executives averaged 2 per cent last year and a large proportion of them didn’t have an increase at all.

According to IDS, the most highly paid senior officer was the chief executive of the London Borough of Wandsworth, who received £299,925 – made up of £242,617 in basic salary, fees and allowances and a bonus of £54,702 covering an 18 month performance period. The highest paid female chief executive last year was at Essex County Council, who received a total pay of £237,000.

At the other end of the spectrum, the chief executive of West Somerset District Council was the lowest paid with a total package of £62,261.

Rahman said: “For the first time, such a comprehensive picture of local authority senior executive pay is possible because of the new disclosure regulation brought in last year, where local authorities have to give more salary information on their top paid officials. This report allows local authorities to compare the rates of their senior executives against each other.”