Bureaucrats at Barnet Council could enjoy inflation-busting increases in their pay packets this year — with some earning more than the vice president of America.

The council’s general functions committee has agreed to raise the pay it can offer to its most senior staff to make the authority more attractive to potential directors and prevent a ‘brain drain’ of staff to other boroughs.

But the increases could mean that salaries of already highly-paid directors would rise from £120,000 to £175,000 a year, while the chief executive could now pocket up to £217,861 a year.

This decision means bureaucrats in charge of Barnet’s planning department or recycling service could earn more than the £157,700 paid to Barack Obama’s deputy, Joe Biden.

Liberal Democrat councillor Wayne Casey described the salaries as “a slap in the face for residents and employees”.

He said: “I am appall-ed that Barnet council taxpayers are expected to pay these excessive salaries.

“But to pay top-dollar while services are being cut and without any guarantees for improved levels of performance is daylight robbery.”

At the same time as rubber-stamping wage hikes for senior bureaucrats, the council has proposed a raft of cuts to services in its draft budget.

The welfare rights unit, which offers vital support to people needing benefits, will be closed and the council is set to raid its reserves in the next financial year.

“We’re in a recession,” added Mr Casey. “There are tens of thousands of great people on the job market at the moment, all prepared to work for less than the generous salaries paid by Barnet.”

Leader of the council and cabinet member for resources Mike Freer said the council agreed to increase the pay range it could offer after having difficulty attracting top candidates for the vacant post of director of children’s services.

“We could only attract people working at deputy director level in other authorities,” he claimed.

“It’s a crucial role and we couldn’t find suitable candidates.”

He said there was “always a case for restraint” but added: “We either lose good people to councils paying the market rate or we increase the amount we’re willing to pay.”