A PAY cut for top earners has been ruled out by the leader of the county council, despite the pressing and ongoing need to make savings.

A drop in salaries for any staff, including the 19 highest paid officers whose combined income is nearly £2m per year, is not the right move, Cllr Martin Tett says.

Instead, salaries have been frozen for the past three years and contracts negotiated to remove automatic pay rises.

Major savings have had to be made at County Hall, with £68 million made in the last three years. Another £40m is being cut in the next few years.

But Cllr Tett, Conservative, said further savings will not come from the top earners, whose salaries range from £65,000 to £207,000, or indeed, staff generally.

He told the BFP: “I don't think we need pay cuts. If you're talking in terms of cash terms pay cuts I don't think that is the right approach but by introducing contribution-based pay, people get pay rises based on the individual performance.

"That is introducing the right incentive which then increases the overall performance on behalf of ratepayers in the county.”

A Contribution Based Pay system, opted in to by 90 per cent of staff, will begin in April, but is a measure designed to improve performance, not make savings, the council said. It said the new system is fairer to workers and rewards them for delivering services to Buckinghamshire residents.

A total of £1.7m has been saved, however, by reviewing staff terms and conditions closing a lease car scheme, charging for staff car parking at County Hall, and by removing medical insurance and health checks for staff.