‘Fat cat’ water boss sees his pay surge to £380,000
FIVE directors at publicly-owned utility company Scottish Water were branded “fat cats” last night after it emerged they were handed inflation-busting bonuses last year.
There were calls for the Scottish Government to “get a grip” on levels of executive pay at the £1 billion firm after chief executive Richard Ackroyd was given a pay packet of £380,000 – up from £352,00 last year, including a bonus of £105,000.
Four other executives were given bonuses of between £62,000 and £69,000, meaning they all earned over £200,000.
That compares with £142,500 for Prime Minister David Cameron and £82,000 for First Minister Alex Salmond.
The firm said in its 2011/12 annual report that it had improved water quality to record levels, reduced leakage by 44 per cent in that period and charged the lowest household water rates in the country.
Mr Ackroyd said: “Increased value for money for customers has been achieved through continued efficiency and reducing costs, while at the same time driving up customer service.”
He added: “Scottish Water is one of Scotland’s biggest businesses and we are committed to putting our customers at the heart of the business. We are delivering the investment vital to transforming the water infrastructure, improving water quality, the environment and customer service.”
But MSPs from all parties hit out at the level of bonuses.
Tory MSP Murdo Fraser, the convener of Holyrood’s economy committee, called for a block on “fat cat bonuses”.
He said: “Workers across the public sector who have had their pay frozen and who are unlikely to see increases in the near future will be astonished that an already well-paid chief executive of Scottish Water has been granted such a pay rise.”
Labour MSP Elaine Murray, said: “This does seem a rather excessive pay rise given the current economic climate.
“Therefore, questions will be asked about who in the Scottish Government signed off this payment and why.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes said: “Most of the public sector is in a pay freeze yet the chief executive of Scottish Water is given a bonus which is more than a year’s average salary for most Scots.
“The SNP must get a grip on high public sector bonuses.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Scottish Water bonuses are paid because of the organisation’s unique position, competing with the private sector to secure suitably qualified and experienced personnel to operate the business and deliver the improvements directed by the Government.”
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