The statistics, culled from parliamentary answers, represent a dramatic increase in the number of public sector "fat cats" drawing six-figure salaries.
Of the 23 earning more than pounds 100,000, 17 are employed by government agencies or quangos. In 1990 only two people fell into such a high-earning category, but this February the Government announced that top civil servants could earn up to pounds 150,000 a year, 25 per cent more than the highest salary at the time.
Yesterday the Liberal Democrats, who collated the figures, called on the Government to monitor top pay. Malcolm Bruce, Liberal Democrat treasury spokesman, said: "It is unclear why a white-collar worker at the Ministry of Defence should be earning more than pounds 145,000".
Top of the Whitehall earnings league is the Home Office, which boasts six pounds 100,000-plus earners, including four employed by agencies. The top pay bracket extends up to pounds 135,000.
The Foreign Office comes second, with four earners in the top bracket (only one paid by the Foreign Office directly), followed by the Ministry of Defence with three six-figure earners. There the highest earnings bracket goes up to pounds 149,999.
At the same time evidence has emerged of very low wages among the worst- paid government employees. The Treasury, the Duchy of Lancaster and Department of National Heritage, Scottish and Welsh Offices and the Board of Trade are among departments listing staff earning below pounds 5,000.
Mr Bruce added: "These figures show an explosion of top pay in government departments and quangos. But at the same time half of all government departments are paying some staff less than pounds 5,000 per annum for full- time jobs - less than pounds 2.50 an hour."Reuse content