WATCHDOGS are calling for a freeze on council tax as figures revealed that dozens of council employees across Hampshire earned more than £100,000 in a year.

More than 30 senior council officers across the county earned more than £100,000 in 2018/19, with four Hampshire County Council employees pocketing more than £150,000 - the TaxPayers’ Alliance annual report has revealed.

The group is now calling for council tax to be frozen and councils’ spending to be focused on frontline services as the country continues to battle the coronavirus crisis.

It comes as a number of Hampshire residents will see a rise in council tax this month as some local authorities, including the county council, have increased their percepts.

The new figures have revealed that 16 county council employees were paid more than £100,000 in 2018/19.

Among those there were chief executive John Coughlan with £220,518; deputy chief executive and director of corporate resources Carolyn Williamson with £187,700 as well as director of adults’ health  and care Graham Allen and director of children’s services Steve Crocker who both earned  £156,075.

They were followed by the  director of economy, transport and environment  with £147,678 and the director of transformation and governance/deputy director of adults’ health and care with £133,988 - but their names were not disclosed.

Eight other staff members, whose names and roles were not revealed, received a salary between £137,500 and £102,500.

But overall the number of county council employees who made it to the list went from 18 in 2017/18 to 16 in 2018/19. Meanwhile, ten Southampton City Council employees also earned more than £100,000 in 2018/19. According to the new list, the highest salary (£147,500) went to an employee whose role and name have not been disclosed.

That was followed by Hilary Brooks, the service director for children and families with £118,933; Richard Ivory, service director legal and governance  with £113,399; Richard Crouch, acting chief executive  with £113,428 and  Jason Horsley, joint director of public health  with £105,557. Five other staff members, whose names and roles were not revealed, received a salary between £127,500 and £107,500. Three Test Valley Borough Council employees were also on the list, including its chief executive Roger Tetstall who received £124,000 for its salary and £8,000 as expenses. . Eastleigh Borough Council chief executive Nick Tustian was also on the list with £112,432 while the chief executive at New Forest District Council received £117,407.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said the country needs every council to cut out waste and prioritise key services. “   The county council said most of its senior officers also deliver services to other local authorities.A spokesperson for the authority added: “The county council is working with district and borough councils on flexibility of council tax paymentsduring the Coronavirus outbreak.”Councils in Southampton, Eastleigh, New Forest and Test Valley have been approached for comment.