THE chief executive of Bolton Council has rejected claims the authority is a “bloated bureaucracy” after a pressure group revealed more than 60 of its staff earned more than £50,000 last year.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance says 62 Bolton Council staff earned salaries of more than £50,000 in 2011/12 at a total cost to the authority of £4,415,000.

The figure was down by four on the previous year which the group said saved the council £330,000 in wages.

Bolton Council chief executive Sean Harriss said the figure had since reduced further with 52 people now on that salary, down from 78 in 2009/10.

The 2011/12 figure of 62 compares to 80 in Salford, 73 in Trafford, 203 in Tameside, and 81 in Wigan.

Manchester had 164, down 410 on the year before.

TaxPayers’ Alliance chief executive Matthew Sinclair said: “Taxpayers are still paying far too much for bloated bureaucracies that have been established in too many town halls over the last decade.

“Councillors need to insist that their local authority does more to find savings and cut back on staff costs that residents cannot afford.”

Mr Harriss said: “We completely reject the Taxpayers’ Alliance claim that councils are bloated bureaucracies stuffed with overpaid staff.

“The council has a budget of more than £700 million per year and runs more than 700 different services, so needs to employ highly qualified, skilled staff and pay them accordingly.

“However, as part of our savings, we have reduced the number of senior staff we employ, as well as making savings from services across the council.

“The number of staff earning more than £50,000 employed by the council has reduced from 78 in 2009/10, to 52 in February 2013.

“The number of assistant directors and directors has also reduced from 34 in 2008 to 19 in 2013.

“The council has saved at least £2 million by making these savings in top management and has reduced the amount spent on directors and assistant directors by about 45 per cent.”