Bid to end six-figure salary executive culture in Scotland

By agency reporter
December 29, 2012

The Scottish government now has a "golden opportunity" to call time on six figure salaries in the public sector, say critics of an inflated high pay culture.

Two chief executive posts (at Creative Scotland and Scottish Water) are currently vacant, and Scottish Government policy describes an "expectation" that salaries will be cut by ten per cent for new appointments. The policy also suggests that automatic bonuses will be removed.

Criticism from the arts community led to the resignation of Andrew Dixon from the top job at Creative Scotland, where he was earning around £130,000. He is expected to receive a £66,000 pay off.

By comparison a frontline customer service job at a Creative Scotland-funded arts centre has a starting salary of just £15,800.

Scottish Water boss Richard Ackroyd died suddenly in October 2012. His basic salary had been £263,000 with bonuses worth further tens of thousands.

In contrast a frontline water operative keeping public supplies flowing can expect wages of only £14,000 a year.

Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow, commented: "The lowest paid public sector workers are enduring real terms cuts, so ministers must honour these expectations for replacement chief executives. They have a golden opportunity to signal an end to the era of six figure salaries."

He continued: "Trimming salaries and shelving bonuses is fine but the bigger issue is that pay packets of over a hundred thousand pounds a year should be the exception and not the norm. Continuing to pay over the odds is increasingly inappropriate as more families are pushed into poverty, and deprivation remains ingrained in our communities."

"Added to the 23 health boards and 32 local authorities there are 26 public bodies whose chief executives get over £100,000 a year. By capping their pay we could save millions - millions that could be invested in frontline services," said Mr Harvie.


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