Nineteen senior officials at Southend Council are to receive salaries that on average exceed £100,000.

From April 1, the council’s management team will be increased from 16 to 19 and almost all will be handed a two per cent pay rise.

The council’s top bosses will receive a pay increase of £3,000, with chief executive Ali Griffin receiving £159,000, up from £156,000.

The deputy chief executive, Andy Lewis, will earn £135,252, up from £132,600.

Meanwhile, strategic directors will be renamed executive directors and their salaries increase from £104,000 to £106,080.

Directors, which are the lowest paid of the senior management team, will see their salaries go from £90,534 to £92,345.

Southend’s pay rates remain low when compared with other councils.

In Basildon, the chief executive has a salary of £181,103 and in Thurrock it is £175,000.

Salary details come as the council restructures its top team.

All together the senior team will be receiving a combined total of £1,951,969 per year, which is nearly £400,000 more than 2019’s £1,636,793.

Ian Gilbert, Labour leader of the council, said: “As a large unitary authority responsible for hundreds of services, with an annual revenue budget of £360million, and operating in an area that faces many opportunities and challenges, it is critical that an appropriate senior management structure is in place.”

He said the council recognises cash is scarce but stressed salaries at all levels needed to be adequate but not excessive.

He added: “Salaries paid to chief officers allow us to recruit and retain high calibre leaders, but remain very fair in comparison to many other nearby local councils.”

He said these salaries had been frozen for many years.

He added: “We recently increased the pay of our lowest paid staff by 10 per cent and I was proud to announce in September that all our directly employed staff receive a real living wage.”