DOZENS of public servants in Essex are earning six figure salaries with huge pension contributions on top.

Essex County Council has more than 50 staff earning a basic salary of more than £100,000.

This does not include the dozens earning bumper pay packets at schools or those whose bonuses, expenses or pension contributions, paid for out of the public purse, tips them into the six figure bracket.

County Hall justified the salaries claiming they need to pay for the best

The figures were released by the Taxpayers’ Alliance.

More than 2,000 council workers break the six figure barrier, including four at Colchester Council.

Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "It is good news the number of senior council staff making more than £100,000 a year is falling, although that may only be because many authorities have finished paying eye-watering redundancy bills.

"Sadly, too many local authorities are still increasing the number of highly paid staff on their payroll.

"It's particularly galling in places where councils are pleading poverty and demanding more and more in Council Tax.

"Taxpayers expect their council to be filling potholes, not pay packets.

"Many rank-and-file staff in local councils will be equally appalled - at a time when councils across the country are freezing pay, it appears the money they're saving is being used to line the pockets of town hall tycoons."

A spokesman for Essex County Council said: “Essex County Council is one of the largest local authorities in the country with an annual budget of almost £2 billion. It is responsible for vital services supporting every member of the community throughout their lives.

“It is imperative, especially at time when the council is having to radically change the way it works that we have talented and experienced people leading the organisation. To ensure we are able to attract and retain the services of these people we obviously need to pay competitive salaries.”

The top earner at County Hall remains CHief Executive Joanna Killian.

She is slipping down the list of top earners but still picked up more than £235,000 last year, including pension contributions.