Bristol

Wiltshire Council chief defends 'unfair' pay increase

Andrew Kerr
Image caption Mr Kerr said he had a "big complex job" that justified his salary

Wiltshire Council's chief executive has defended his acceptance of a pay rise, following union criticism.

The public sector union Unison wants Andrew Kerr to hand back the £6,000 incremental increase at a time when jobs and services are being cut.

The Conservative-run authority is making £99m of savings over four years and 220 managers have already taken voluntary redundancy.

Mr Kerr said the complexity of his job justified his £189,000 salary.

The former international athlete took on the job of chief executive in February last year.

"I've got 15,000 staff. This business turns over nearly £1bn a year. We deliver 350-odd different services. It's a big complex job which I believe justifies the salary that I earn," he said.

But Unison spokesman Chris Howe said: "Our members' pay is frozen. Their increments are likely to be frozen and I can't see them standing back and saying 'Well done Mr Kerr, I think you deserve that'."

Wiltshire Council said if it had not become a unitary authority, five separate district council chief executives would each be earning salaries of £600,000 a year.

By switching to one, it said, it had saved taxpayers' money.

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