Revealed: The top earners paid by Manx taxpayer

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

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The boss of the Isle of Man’s financial watchdog and nine hospital consultants are among the Manx government’s highest earners – all with salaries above £200,000.

Figures for staff remuneration, listed in the latest government annual accounts, shows that one person received between £325,000 and £350,000 as at the end of March this year.

Two received between £250,000 and £274,999, three pocketed between £225,000 and £249,999 and 11 received between £200,000 and £224,999.

Those figures included compensation payments and the Examiner understands that the one staff member who received over £325,000 did so as part of an early retirement package under which employees can be awarded up to 12 months’ pay.

John Aspden, chief executive of the Financial Supervision Commission, confirmed that his salary in 2013-14 was £259,463. He has since been awarded a 2 per cent pay rise, the same increase as all FSC staff, taking his salary to £264,653.

Mr Aspden is not a civil servant. He receives no pension as part of his employment package and he pointed out that this year’s pay award was financed within the commission’s existing budget.

Following an Access to Government Information request, the Examiner has established that all three earning between £225,000 and £249,999 are consultants at the hospital.

The Department of Health and Social Care also confirmed that a further six consultants earn between £200,000 and £224,999.

Mr Aspden told the Examiner: ‘All FSC salaries are reviewed and determined by the FSC Board. Although FSC employees are not civil servants, the FSC Board will have regard to the government’s pay policy as one consideration among a range of other internal and external factors. In this connection I would mention that the annual salary award to FSC staff was financed within the commission’s existing budget.’

Public sector pay is in the news because it is by far the largest item of government expenditure.

After the UK redrew the VAT agreement with the island, the government’s income has dropped by a third, meaning savings are essential.

In a statement to Tynwald last week Chief Minister Allan Bell said there has been a net reduction of 13 senior posts since the start of April, which will save the taxpayer £955,000 a year.

He said this was a direct result of the programme to streamline government by reducing the number of departments from nine to seven, reuniting the Departments of Health and Social Care and creating a merged Manx Utilities Authority.

He said these were through natural wastage, early retirent or simply staff moving on.

He said that government had hit its target of reducing the size of the public service by 100 full-time equivalent posts per year and was on course to do so again this financial year. Mr Bell told members that over the last four years, well over 700 jobs had been lost.

As Chief Minister, Mr Bell is entitled to £69,787 a year. However, he has declined at least one recent pay rise.

The Treasury’s annual earnings survey earlier this year found that average pay for full-time employees rose by 1.3 per cent, to £620 per week (the equivalent of an annual salary of £32,240), between June 2012 and June 2013.

The average public sector wage was £676, while in the private sector it was £608.

Public sector workers work for 37 hours on average, compared with 39 hours in the private sector.

While a man in the island earns £658.13 on average in a week, in the UK the figure is £676.70. The figures for women are £562.20 in the island and £532.90 for the UK.

Median earnings (the earnings level which half of the full-time workforce exceeds) fell by 1.5 per cent to £504 (£26,208 per year).

This statistic removes the distorting effect of the super-rich and suggests that, since average wages have risen but median ones have fallen, the gap between the rich and poor must be widening.

Overall, the median weekly wage for the Isle of Man is £504.11, while in the UK it was £517.50. For men, the figures are £531.47 (Isle of Man) and £556 (UK) and for women they’re £480 (Isle of Man) and £458.80 (UK), so Manxwomen are better off the UK women, but Manxmen are poorer than UK men.

In 2009, a Tynwald question revealed that most chief executives of government departments earned £92,097.

The figures were given with permission of the chief executives so not all were published. The Chief Secretary then took home £132,458 a year, while chief financial officer at the Treasury got £114,982.

A more recent figure has not been published.

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