Councillors are to be given the power to block town hall salaries of more than £100,000 under government reforms.

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said he wanted to "democracy proof" the award of "mega" deals for council executives.

Appointments on more than £100,000 a year will in future require the approval of the full council.

The move, as part of the Localism Bill, is the latest of a series of attempts by Mr Pickles to increase transparency and reduce costs in local government.

It comes a day after The Argus revealed there were 612 council staff in Sussex are earning above £58,000.

The salaries of town hall senior managers nationwide are thought to cost more than £600 million a year.

Mr Pickles has already called on chief executives on more than £200,000 to take a 10% pay cut and those earning £150,000 to take a 5% pay cut. Prime Minister David Cameron earns £142,000 a year.

The new legislation will force councils to publish a statement on the pay of chief officers - possibly including bonuses and annual rises - which will be put before the elected chamber for approval.

Mr Pickles said: "Councils need to make sure they don't sully their reputation by taking decisions behind closed doors to reward chief executives when they should be focusing resources on protecting frontline services.

"The changes we are introducing will mean that local government jobs will now have to be 'democracy proofed' before mega salaries are paid out.

"I think the democratically elected leaders of any council should make sure they have their say on pay and that £100,000 is the place to start that.

"The Localism Bill is one of the most radical pieces of legislation to be debated in this chamber for decades.

"It is a triumph for democracy over bureaucracy that will fundamentally shake up the balance of power in this country."

But the Local Government Association (LGA) said councils were "leading the way" in transparency and described the initiative as unnecessary.

Sir Steve Bullock, chairman of the LGA's Local Government Group Workforce Board, said: "It is right that pay for senior staff in the public sector is subject to scrutiny, but this kind of top-down interference is simply unnecessary.

"Councils are leading the way in being transparent about all their spending, and many authorities already have remuneration committees with independent members from outside the authority that examine senior salaries.

"We look forward to hearing from ministers whether other parts of the public sector are going to be as transparent as local government, and if MPs will be asked to approve the salaries of civil servants earning more than £100,000.

"Councils are large organisations which deliver services that are vital to every family in Britain. In deciding pay levels, local authorities need to balance that with the need for all salaries to be reasonable and transparent."