The ex-chief executive of Bexley Council was given a £94k pay-out when she parted way with the authority last year, it can be revealed.

Gill Steward, who joined the council in 2016, announced she would be stepping down from the £192k role in August last year.

In documents originally passed to the Local Democracy Service, a draft of the council’s accounts show how much the former chief executive was “compensated for loss of employment”.

At the time, the council refused to comment on whether Ms Steward was working her full notice period, or whether she was receiving any financial payments as she departs.

When replying to a Freedom of Information request the authority said the information was “exempt from disclosure”.

The council said it is was not obligated to provide personal information that could breach the Data Protection Act.

However, new documents reveal that the chief executive was handed £94k, on top of her salary from the start of the financial year of £78k and a £309 bonus.

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Another £54,000 was paid to a former assistant chief executive monitoring officer who also left, bringing the total compensation payments to £148,647.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said the figures raise questions over priorities.

He told the LDR service: “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 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 raise serious questions about efficiency and priorities.”

Responding to the figures, a council spokesman said: “We consider very carefully how we spend tax payers’ money and only agree termination payments where this will support us to better deliver our priorities and objectives by facilitating changes in our management arrangements.

“We appointed a new chief executive who is driving forward our Transformation Programme.

“The post of assistant chief executive has remained vacant for around a year, resulting in a reduction in the cost of the our senior management.”

Jackie Belton, formerly strategic director of corporate services at Lambeth Council, has recently taken the reigns from interim chief exec Paul Moore.