Lothian Buses fat cats hauled in by city

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THE huge salaries of Lothian Buses’ directors are set to be reined in as the city moves to tighten its grip on the council-owned firm.

Revelations that chief executive Ian Craig pocketed a bonus of around £80,000 on top of his generous £183,000 salary sparked a public outcry after it emerged drivers only received an inflation-based pay hike of two per cent.

Now, council chiefs will be given new powers to scrutinise and veto the cash perks as part of plans to bring tram and bus networks under one umbrella.

The new company – dubbed “Transport For Edinburgh” – will appoint a pay panel comprising two councillors and a director to determine salaries and bonuses for senior transport staff. The balance of its composition means the city can effectively veto extravagant pay deals.

Until now, councillors have had no say in the wage packets of Lothian Buses’ directors but as financial details were finally released this week – amid considerable political pressure – a storm of protest was unleashed.

The News revealed yesterday how the pay and pensions bill of the firm’s top four directors has smashed the £1 million ceiling for the first time and the bus company’s boss eclipsed Prime Minister David Cameron’s salary of £142,500.

Sue Bruce, pictured, chief executive of Edinburgh City Council, said in a report: “The remuneration committee has to take into account the council’s views, benchmarking, public policy and ensure there is appropriate performance management.”

Today, transport convenor Lesley Hinds said a “fundamental change” was taking place in the management of Lothian Buses.

“We wholly own Lothian Buses yet have no say in it,” she said. “I think that is something we have reflected on since [being elected in] May last year. If we own this company should we not have some influence?”