Brent Council has defended its pay scheme for senior staff, including that of its chief executive, who earns more than the prime minister.

Figures showed that 18 council employees received more than £100,000 in 2017-18.

Chief executive Carolyn Downs was paid £195,000 for her work that year. By contrast, Theresa May earned just over £150,000.

But the council is adamant that these figures accurately represent the efforts of its senior staff and that they are in line with other local authorities around the country.

A spokesman for Brent Council said: “We’re very open about what our senior officers are paid, and this information is freely available on our website for everyone to see.

“Our pay levels reflect market rates, as well as the experience and responsibility that each role involves.”

The Taxpayers’ Alliance produced its latest ‘Town Hall Rich List’, which documents the amount of money received by those in top positions in local government.

Its chief executive, John O’Connell, noted that these people have difficult roles – but he questioned such high salaries at a time when services are under increasing strain.

He said: “Despite many in the public sector facing a much-needed pay freeze to help bring the public finances under control, many town hall bosses are continuing to pocket huge remuneration packages, with staggering pay-outs for those leaving their jobs.

“There are talented people in the public sector who are trying to deliver more for less, but the sheer scale of these packages raises serious questions about efficiency and priorities.”

Brent Council’s latest budget outlined the need to find £20 million worth of savings for 2019/20, with council tax put up by 4.99 per cent.

Children’s and adult services, cleaning and litter picking, a police programme, and the council tax support scheme were among the areas affected, as councillors blamed cuts from central government combined with an increased demand.