TWO Hampshire council chiefs earned more in a year than the Prime Minister, new figures reveal today.

Hampshire County Council chief executive Andrew Smith’s salary was £207,372 in 2012-13 while his former counterpart in Southampton, earned £149,530, according to the Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) Town Hall Rich List.

Daily Echo: HERO: Alistair Neill

Former Southampton City Council chief executive Alistair Neill

The Prime Minister’s salary was £142,500.

But in an era of austerity for councils in Hampshire the figures show the number of bosses on packages worth more than £100,000 dropped significantly – from 54 in 2011-12 to 30 in 2012-13.

In Southampton, where city council bosses have shed more than £30 million worth of services and hundreds of jobs in the last two years alone, the number of officers with packages of £100,000 or more dropped from 18 to five.

At Hampshire County Council the number dropped from 28 to 15 in 2012-13, with council chiefs tasked with finding £340 million more savings by the 2017-18.

Mr Smith was the highest paid, with total remuneration of £234,538 in 2012-13, including employer pension contributions.

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Hampshire County Council chief executive Andrew Smith

Southampton City Council’s former director of children’s services and learning Clive Webster’s £94,234 redundancy payout led to him receiving £227,012 in 2012-13.

Jonathan Isaby, the TPA’s chief executive, said: “It is good news that the number of senior council staff making more than £100,000 a year is falling, although that may only be because many authorities have finished paying eye-watering redundancy bills.

“Taxpayers expect their council to be filling potholes not pay packets.”

A county council spokesman said it had reduced senior mangers by 15 per cent in recent years, adding: “Our response to a 43 per cent reduction in Government grant, with further cuts to come, has been to reshape services and do things differently, including sharing capacity and costs with partners. This has helped us ease the burden on hard-pressed taxpayers and to keep their council tax frozen for five years in a row – the lowest bill in the South East.”

A spokesman for the city council said: “Southampton City Council is committed to providing value for money, which is why we have significantly reduced the number of senior managers in recent years. Remaining senior staff also took a 5.5 per cent pay cut in 2011, the largest proportionate reduction of any staff group.

“Both measures have reduced the pay bill and have resulted in a leaner, more efficient and cost-effective organisation, better prepared to face the challenges of the coming years.”