Page last updated at 13:59 GMT, Sunday, 15 November 2009

Top salaries must be cut - Harman

Harriet Harman
Harriet Harman says public sector pay is reflecting the private sector

Salaries of top public sector bosses must be cut back, Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman has said.

Ms Harman said the way large pay levels in the private sector were being reflected in the public sector had "got out of hand".

She told the Observer a review by Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liam Byrne could cap public sector salaries below the £197,689 of the prime minister.

The BBC revealed this week about 40 staff earned more than Gordon Brown.

They include BBC director general Mark Thompson on £834,000.

The figures showed almost all the corporation's top executives earned more than £100,000.

Top earners

Ms Harman said: "The huge salaries in the private sector have fed across into the public sector in a way that has got to be pulled back.

"There are many public servants who are paid more than the prime minister - with the pay rate and bonuses - and that is just evidence of how it has got out of hand."

She added: "I don't want to give any ceiling. I am not saying that [the prime minister's salary] is the right ceiling because that might be too high. It might be that that is too high for everybody else."

According to research last year by campaign group the Taxpayers' Alliance, 387 people in the public sector earned salaries above £150,000.

The top public sector earners are believed to be Network Rail's Iain Coucher on £1,244,000, Royal Mail's Adam Crozier on £1,242,000, and Andy Duncan of Channel 4 on £1,211,000.

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