EYEBROWS have been raised after it emerged York's most senior council officials have each been enjoying nearly eight weeks annual leave.

The city has been among the most generous in the country to its top officials, according to a report going before councillors on Monday.

All 17 staff of chief officer rank at City of York Council have been receiving 34 days annual leave, rising to 39 days after five years' service – plus the eight public holidays a year.

National guidelines for local government staffing arrangements say chief officers should get a minimum entitlement of 30 days.

Other council staff in York are entitled to 24 days' leave a year, increasing to 29 after five years' service.

In a report to today's meeting, Mark Bennett, the council’s head of business HR, says: “Leave arrangements in other Local Authorities vary significantly.

“However, information obtained from other local authorities suggest that the council does provide more annual leave for chief officers than some other local authorities.”

It is being recommended to cut the entitlement to 30 days for those with less than five years service and 35 for the longer serving chief officers - a reduction of four days.

Chief officers have agreed for this to take effect from the start of their next annual leave year, and councillors are asked to approve the change on Monday.

John O'Connell, director of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: "Taxpayers are right to be angry at the generous holiday allowance council top-brass have granted themselves.

“With council tax going up this year, York residents expect their officials to be working hard for their salaries, not taking so much time off over the year.

“Bosses should be ashamed at this waste of taxpayers’ cash and bring their leave back into line with their junior employees."

Cllr Dafydd Williams, council cabinet member for finance, said: “It is right that the council reduces this holiday allowance in consultation with those staff affected.

“But it should be noted that chief officers, of which there are fewer than under previous administrations, are expected to work significantly longer hours than other staff within their contractual terms.

“They also work for amongst the lowest levels of pay for people at their level in the country.”