SENIOR executives of Scotland's quangos were accused of collecting "mega film star" bonuses and taking the taxpayer for a ride.
MSPs on Holyrood's finance committee were told that 3.6 million was paid out in salaries to 38 chief executives of public bodies across the country.
Some have also taken large bonuses, such as Richard Ackroyd, the chief executive of Scottish Water, who is on target to earn a basic wage of 263,000 plus a 40 per cent bonus – at a time when the average wage of one his workers is 23,000.
SNP MSP Alex Neil said: "It seems to me there are two pay policies. One for the people at the front end doing the work and a completely separate pay policy for those at the top of the tree. Look at the mega film star bonuses paid to some of the chief executives of the quangos."
He said his "hackles were rising" as he learned of the gap in pay between those at the top end and those at the bottom.
Alistair Brown, deputy director of Scottish government finance, said agencies collected market information on earnings in similar posts and came up with a similar level.