£5000 pay rise for Lothian Buses boss Ian Craig

Ian Craig has been rewarded for Lothian Buses' successful year. Picture: Neil Hanna

Ian Craig has been rewarded for Lothian Buses' successful year. Picture: Neil Hanna

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LOTHIAN Buses boss Ian Craig – Scotland’s highest paid public sector chief executive – has been handed yet another pay rise, meaning he has been paid more than £1 million in the past five years.

Figures released today show his pay package last year totalled £269,388, including a bonus of £73,438 – significantly more than either First Minister Alex Salmond or Prime Minister David Cameron. Mr Craig’s latest £5000-plus increase comes despite a storm of protest over his pay last year.

The company’s other three most senior employees were awarded rises of more than £3000 each, taking their packages to just below £200,000,

Lothian Buses said the pay boosts were justified because 2013 was the company’s most successful year in recent history.

But Lothian Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale said: “There will be many public sector workers across the city who have had to put up with a pay freeze for number of years who will feel very aggrieved and have every right to feel very aggrieved.

“Cleaners and care workers and others will look at these figures and think there’s one rule for them and another for the rest of us.

“People will find it hard to stomach that the man in charge of the trams and buses earns more than the Prime Minister and the First Minister.”

Mr Craig, who is chief executive of Transport for Edinburgh – which takes in Lothian Buses, Edinburgh Bus Tours and Edinburgh Trams – received a £5192 rise.

Details of his salary and bonuses have only been published since 2011. His pay package increased from £209,679 in 2011 to £264,196 in 2012 and £269,388 last year, adding up to £743,263. But his remuneration for the previous two years, understood to have been around £200,000, puts him over the £1m mark.

Operations director Bill Campbell and finance director Norman Strachan each got an increase last year of £3854, taking their total remuneration to £197,755 and £197,793 respectively, including a £45,530 bonus.

Engineering director Bill Devlin saw his package increase by £3177 to £199,078, including the same bonus.

Lothian Buses said its revenues last year totalled more than £132m, £10m up on the previous year, and its net profit was £8.5m, an increase of 7.8 per cent over 2012.

It said the number of journeys made on Lothian Buses last year was 115 million – four million more than in 2012 and the highest recorded for over 25 years. And a survey by Passenger Focus recorded an overall passenger satisfaction rate of 96 per cent, the highest of any operator surveyed across the UK.

Mr Craig came under fire last year over a massive 26 per cent pay rise at a time when bus drivers had to settle for an increase of around two per cent.

The company said the pay hike was justified because it reflected increased responsibilities, not only taking on the tram operation but also his step up from managing director to chief executive.

The pay rise took him to the top of Scotland’s public sector salary tree on almost £265,000, well above NHS Lothian boss Tim Davison on £173,840 and overtaking Edinburgh University principal Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea on £227,000.

Lothian Buses said today its success last year would allow further investment in new technologies, the development of its position at the centre of Edinburgh’s economy and ensure the company could stand up to future challenges. It will pay a dividend of nearly £3.3m to local authority 
shareholders.

Lothian Green MSP Alison Johnstone said: “Lothian Buses must be congratulated on their most successful year. It’s fantastic to see four million more journeys in the region. Clearly the company is doing a lot right.

“No-one is in any doubt this is a really top quality service, but it is important to ensure all those involved in delivery it are benefiting. I would be interested to learn more about the bonuses and pay increases for the people who sell the Ridacards and the bus drivers themselves who are such an important part of everyday life for so many people in Edinburgh and the Lothians.”

She suggested Lothian Buses should consider a “pay ratio” between those at the top and the bottom of the salary spread to ensure there was not too big a gap between the bosses and the lowest paid.

The pay packages of executive directors are set by a remuneration sub-
committee of the board consisting of external non-executive directors. The payments received by Lothian Buses’ four top executives totalled £864,013 last year compared with £847,260 in 2012.

Mr Craig said 2013 had been a hugely significant year, full of opportunities and challenges, and it was “no mean feat” to have come through it 
successfully. He said: “We can demonstrate first rate financial performance, engineering and operational quality as well as a new tram operation which has been developed and delivered in time for service.

“We look forward now to a new era for Lothian Buses, one where skills and experience are shared with Edinburgh Trams to ensure that Edinburgh’s developing public transport offer remains on a successful course into the future.”

Ann Faulds, chair of the Lothian Buses board, said: “Lothian Buses sits at the centre of life in Edinburgh and the Lothians and is at the top of the tree when compared with other operators.

“The company has risen to the challenges and I’d like to congratulate our CEO, Ian Craig, and his team for what they have achieved.”

Transport convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “Lothian Buses continue to demonstrate that they are going from strength to strength.

“As we push towards tram launch at the end of the month I’m delighted that both bus and tram operations are such a strong position to thrive as an integrated offer under Transport for Edinburgh.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com