Six-figure public sector wages branded “unacceptable”

Dozens of public sector bosses across Scotland are taking home six-figure salaries – with many making more than Nicola Sturgeon and David Cameron, figures have today shown.

Public sector bosses, including Creative Scotland's Chief Executive Janet Archer, earn more than £100,000. Picture: Neil Hanna
Public sector bosses, including Creative Scotland's Chief Executive Janet Archer, earn more than £100,000. Picture: Neil Hanna

The taxpayer-funded pay levels have been branded “unacceptable” by opposition parties as workers have faced pay freezes in recent years.

There are at least 64 employees in the Scottish Government, its quangos and other public bodies being paid a minimum of £100,000, according to statistics obtained by the Scottish Greens.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The highest earners include the Scottish Government’s top civil servant, permanent secretary Leslie Evans, on £160,000. Lena Wilson, chief executive of economic development quango Scottish Enterprise takes home £205,000 and Scottish Futures Trust chief executive Barry White makes £180,000.

The highest-paid public servant in Scotland is still Scottish Water chief executive Douglas Millican on £245,000. The firm’s chief operating officer Peter Farrer makes £175,000, the same salary as finance director Alan Scott.

These pay levels outstrip First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who takes home £135,605, as well as Prime Minister David Cameron who has a salary of £142,500.

Green co-leader Patrick Harvie said: “The Scottish Government is an accredited Living Wage employer and that is to be commended but the lack of action on high pay is unacceptable. As frontline services face being downgraded due to budget cuts, it’s just bizarre to continue paying six-figure salaries.

“There is little evidence that paying more results in better management. The successes of our public bodies are team efforts, and rewards should be shared fairly. If we really aspire to a fairer Scotland we should be closing the pay gap between the frontline and the boardroom.”

The figures unveiled by the Greens show that 13 senior staff at Scottish Government earn more than £100,000.

Among the big earners at Scotland’s quangos – public bodies operating outside the Scottish Government – is Janet Archer, chief executive of national arts body Creative Scotland, who makes £100,000-£115,000, according to the figures.

Cairngorms National Park Authority chief executive Grant Moir is on £100,000-£105,000, while Highlands and Islands Enterprise chief executive Alex Paterson is on £105,000-£109,999. Annette Bruton, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate, is on a salary of £115,000-£120,000.

Sir John Leighton director-general of the National Galleries makes £100,000-104,999, while National Museums director Dr Gordon Rintoul is on £105,000-110,000, the figures show.

The heads of two education quangoes also make six-figure salaries. Janet Brown, chief executive of the Scottish Qualifications Authority, is on £125,000-129,999, while Scottish Funding Council chief Laurence Howells makes £115,000-119,999.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said senior civil servants’ salaries are set by the UK government, while its staffing costs have reduced by 16.5 per cent since 2010-11.

She added: “We expect all parts of the public sector to ensure their activities deliver maximum value for money and we are continuing to look for further opportunities to simplify and streamline the public sector landscape, to reduce costs and improve the quality and efficiency.”

Scottish Water said Mr Millican’s pay is the lowest of all water firm bosses across the rest of the UK. A spokesman for the Scottish Future’s Trust said: “We’ve got nothing to hide from in terms of pay.”