Lothian Buses face pressure over boss pay silence

Lothian Buses chief executive Ian Craig. Picture: Jayne Wright
Lothian Buses chief executive Ian Craig. Picture: Jayne Wright
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PRESSURE is mounting on Lothian Buses to reveal the salary of new chief executive Ian Craig after the decision not to was branded a “PR disaster” for the company.

Growing numbers of officials have voiced their discontent since the Evening News revealed the company – which the council has a 91 per cent stake in – was refusing to disclose the salary details of Mr Craig for taking on the role of chief executive, even though it will be made public on June 26 when its remuneration report goes before the council.

A motion put forward by Conservative councillor Jason Rust, seconded by fellow Tory councillor Jeremy Balfour, 
calling for the salary to be revealed at next month’s AGM, has now been passed by the council.

The motion reads: “Request to the City of Edinburgh Council representative at the Lothian Buses AGM asks the Chairman the level of remuneration agreed for the new CEO position and expresses Council’s concern regarding transparency in relation to this process and public perception.”

Cllr Rust said: “While Lothian Buses are already obliged to reveal the salary at the AGM, we still felt it important to flag up this request at a public, minuted meeting.

“Many people are very unhappy about the way this situation has been handled and we also wanted to express, and have noted, our concerns over issues of perception.

“There were calls last year for greater public scrutiny over pay and it now feels like not much has changed since then.”

Last year, controversy also centred around Mr Craig, when it was revealed he was to receive a £47,200 bonus on top of his then £159,675 wage, giving him a bigger salary than the First Minister and the Prime Minister.

Deputy council leader and head of the city’s SNP group Cllr Steve Cardownie said: “It is extremely disappointing that we are still waiting for information which should immediately have been made public.

“The longer Lothian Buses are taking to disclose this 
information, the more suspicion there is that something untoward is going on.

“Mr Craig appears to have been extremely badly advised – this has been a PR disaster for Lothian Buses.

“What’s all the reticence about? The public have a right to know and they are going to find out anyway.”

Green MSP Alison Johnstone also said that she supported the call for greater transparency.

She said: “The majority of Lothian Buses funding comes from the taxpayer and it is appropriate that the taxpayer knows how much the chief executive is being paid. The decisions made by the company have an impact on the users of the service and on the other employees who work hard to deliver those services.”

Transport convener Councillor Lesley Hinds stressed the fact that the remuneration of Lothian Buses staff was a decision for the company’s board of directors.

She added: “The council has no input in these decisions. We have contacted the board to express our concern about the lack of communication regarding the salary of the chief executive and we look forward to receiving this information shortly.”

A spokesman for Lothian Buses said: “In line with standard practice for corporate reporting, details of Mr Craig’s salary will be included in the company’s annual remuneration report in June.”