Lothian Buses boss is highest paid in public sector

Ian Craig's salary is the highest of any public organisation chief executive in Scotland. Picture: Lothian Buses

Ian Craig's salary is the highest of any public organisation chief executive in Scotland. Picture: Lothian Buses

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LOTHIAN Buses boss Ian Craig today emerged as the highest paid chief executive of any public organisation in Scotland.

His £265,000 pay package is £90,000 more than a High Court judge, more than twice the amount paid to the people in charge of Scotland’s prisons, museums, galleries and environmental protection and more than three times the salary paid to the chief executive of Historic ­Scotland for looking after the ­nation’s heritage.

There was an outcry when it was revealed last month that Mr Craig had been given a 26 per cent pay rise. Lothian Buses drivers, who earn around £25,000, got a 2.8 per cent increase.

The latest hike takes Mr Craig’s pay packet above the £227,000 received by Edinburgh University principal and vice-chancellor Professor Sir Tim O’Shea, who has refused a rise for the past four years.

Mr Craig was already being paid more than city council chief executive Sue Bruce who gets £158,553 a year and NHS Lothian boss Tim Davison on £173,840.

Now a survey of top salaries in other public sector organisations in Scotland shows the Lothian Buses chief executive is paid more than almost anyone else.

His £265,000 package is comfortably above First Minister Alex Salmond on £142,257, High Court judges on £174,481 and the £200,000 paid to the chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, whose pay rate has caused controversy in the past.

Mr Craig is paid more than double the chief executives of the National Museums of Scotland, the National Galleries of Scotland, arts body Creative Scotland and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), as well as countryside quango Scottish Natural Heritage, exam body the Scottish Qualifications Authority and the Scottish Funding Council which hands out cash to universities and colleges. He gets three times the £70,000-£75,000 salary of Historic Scotland chief executive Ian Walford.

And he is paid twice as much as Scottish Prison Service chief executive Colin McConnell, who has a salary of £110,000-£115,000 for being in charge of 16 prisons, including two privately-run, with 7800 prisoners and 4350 staff.

Others whose salaries are significantly lower than Mr Craig’s include Scottish Ambulance Service chief executive Pauline Howie (£140,000-£145,000) who is responsible for a £200 million budget, 4500 staff and 100 ­ambulance stations across the country, dealing with 600,000 emergencies every year.

Lothian Buses has around 2000 employees and 650 buses serving Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Deputy council leader Steve Cardownie said: “You wonder how difficult it is to run a bus service, especially one you have inherited that is successful.

“There are people who have to deal with a whole raft of different kinds of problems and emergencies on a day-to-day basis.

“I’m not criticising Ian personally because the salary goes with the job, but it does seem inordinately high for running a bus service in a city of less than 500,000.”

Steve Burgess, leader of the Green group on the city council, said Mr Craig seemed to be doing a good job, but his pay was too high.

He said: “Salaries should really be in line with the level of responsibility and the size of the 
business they are operating. This obviously seems way beyond that.

“It’s not a personal thing – anybody who is in charge of Lothian Buses obviously has quite a lot of responsibility, but if you ­compare it with something like the prison service that perhaps involves more responsibility than running a bus company, albeit one of the best in Europe.

“There should be a maximum salary level for people in public office and it should be in line with the level of responsibility they have.”

Scottish Water chief executive Douglas Millican is one of the few public sector bosses with a pay package which exceeds Mr Craig’s. He was only appointed to the post in February, after four months as interim chief executive, but his £236,700 salary could be topped up with a bonus of up to 40 per cent if targets are met.

A Scottish Water spokesman said: “Our chief executive’s remuneration package is the lowest in the UK water industry for chief executives, and his salary is ten per cent lower than that of his 
predecessor.

“He runs the fourth biggest water and waste water business in the UK and is in charge of one of the biggest investment programmes per household in the UK, which supports thousands of construction jobs.”

John Sharkey, chief executive of the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC), which is 91 per cent owned by Glasgow City Council, is ­another of the highest-paid ­public sector employees, whose pay package could rival Mr Craig’s.

No figure is available for his current salary or even how much he was paid last year. An SECC spokeswoman said his 2012-13 remuneration would be revealed when the annual report is published in the next few 
weeks.

But Mr Sharkey’s salary for 2011-12 was £190,000 and he received a bonus of £47,500 bonus, which the spokeswoman said he had distributed among staff. His package also included a Long Term Incentive Plan payment of £38,000 which will not be received until July 2014 and only if performance targets are met.

Eben Wilson, director of TaxpayerScotland, said Mr Craig’s £265,000 pay package was too high, adding: “Those working for organisations need to consider their public service role in the amount they take in salary.

“Salaries above £100,000 have to be genuinely earned – in both the public and the private sector.”

Lothian Buses declined to ­comment.

Council to take control of all cash decisions

COUNCIL chiefs have already made clear they plan to rein in the huge salaries of Lothian Buses bosses.

The company’s annual report revealed its four top directors – chief executive Ian Craig, operations director Bill Campbell, engineering director Bill Devlin and finance director Norman Strachan – shared a pay, pensions and benefits pot of more than £1 million last year, the first time the total has smashed the seven-figure mark.

Until now, despite the council owning the vast majority of shares in Lothian Buses, it has had no say over salaries and benefits – which are decided by the company’s board.

But now council chiefs are to be given new powers to scrutinise and veto pay packages as part of plans to bring tram and bus operations under one umbrella.

A pay panel made up of two councillors and a director will determine salaries and bonuses for senior staff, returning control to the Capital’s elected representatives.