A PAIR of Reading Borough Council's top chiefs have been named on a list of the highest paid officers in the land.

Both the Managing Director and head of environment services were named among the top 550 paid council employees. Between them the two netted £331,000 from the town's taxpayers.

Throughout 2015/16, the last year records are available for, Ian Wardle, the now departed director, was paid £157,545.

During the same time Alison Bell, director of Environment and Neighbourhood Services was paid £174,000. She is now acting Managing Director until Peter Sloman takes the position later this year.

The salaries are both higher than Theresa May's annual wage of £143,000.

The year before she pocketed £105,863 with Mr Wardle taking home £156,870.

The figures came to light as a campaigning group published a list of town hall figures across the UK paid more than £150,000 a year.

The research also revealed seven employees were on more than £100,000 a year in 2015/16, one more than in the previous year.

Reading Borough Council voted to increase council tax by the maximum amount without a referendum for the new tax year.

John O'Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: "The average council tax bill has gone up by more than £900 over the last twenty years and spending has gone through the roof.

"Disappointingly, many local authorities are now responding to financial reality through further tax rises and reducing services rather than scaling back top pay.

"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 the number of people on six-figure deals actually going up since last year.

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

A Reading Borough Council spokesman said: "Managing Directors and Directors of local Councils are responsible for budgets of millions of pounds and for the delivery of hundreds of essential public services.

"It is important the right skilled and experienced people are employed to carry out this work and the salaries for the responsibilities involved compare favourably with the private sector.

"The salary figures quoted do not always show an accurate picture as they can include one-off backdated payments and pension contributions."

Cllr Claire Kober, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Resources Board, said: "Councils are large, complex organisations with sizeable budgets and responsibility for delivering more than 700 services, including caring for the elderly and vulnerable and protecting children.

"It is important that the right people with the right skills and experience are retained to deliver this work.

"Local government is committed to providing value for money to taxpayers and, nationally, incoming chief executives are being paid lower salaries than their predecessors’ and average chief executive salaries continue to decline year-on-year.

"The pay of senior council staff is set by politically proportionate committees of elected councillors and is open to a high level of scrutiny and democratic accountability as a result."