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Anger as boss of government-backed green charity sees pay soar to £232,000

Anger as boss of government-backed green charity sees pay soar to £232,000
2 min read

A government-backed charity has come under fire after its chief executive pocketed a 50% pay rise.

Environmental charity ClientEarth received nearly £1m worth of funding from the Department for International Development last year, and the hike to £232,000 now makes chief executive James Thornton one of the highest paid bosses in the voluntary sector.

His salary is greater than that of the heads of RSPCA, Macmillan Cancer Support and the NSPCC, prompting fury from Former International Development Secretary Priti Patel.

The Conservative MP told The Telegraph: "There is no justification for this extraordinarily high salary for a charity chief executive which receives taxpayer funding. 

"The charity must be held to account for the vast sums of taxpayers money it is receiving. This is an unjustifiable pay packet for the head of an organisation that receives public money."

A spokesman for ClientEarth, which has 100 employees, said that Mr Thornton had received a £45,000 pay rise and a one-off pension payment to recognise “historic underpayments”.

The spokesman said: “[Mr Thornton] and the organisation he’s built have had remarkable success on behalf of the planet and the people who inhabit it and James has unrivalled experience in his field. His remuneration reflects this."

The charity, which is based in East London, rose to prominence after forcing the Government to overhaul and its air pollution strategy in towns and cities following three successful legal campaigns.

According to the Telegraph, Mr Thornton's pay is significantly higher than that of other green charities, with the head of Friends of the Earth earning £97,850, while the head of Greenpeace UK is paid £79,000.

The issue of charity pay has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years, with 37 charities paying their chief executives more than £200,000, according to Third Sector magazine. 

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