By Michael MacLeod
FIVE Scottish Water executives received £273,000 between them in bonuses in the past year.
Two of the managers at the publicly owned service also shared £57,024 to help buy cars.
The salary top-ups come after SNP finance secretary John Swinney called on public sector chief executives to waive their bonuses this year.
The payments, condemned by some MSPs, were revealed in the same week as new Chancellor George Osborne announced a Budget including a freeze on benefits, cuts in child tax credits and reductions to departmental spending.
Meanwhile, Scottish Water’s annual accounts revealed a raft of bonuses to senior management.
Perks in detail
Richard Ackroyd, the utility’s chief executive, received a £63,000 performance top-up as part of a total remuneration package of £336,000.
Asset management director Geoff Aitkenhead got a £55,000 boost on top of his £172,000 salary.
The commercial director Chris Banks was given a £51,000 bonus in a £223,000 pay package.
Peter Farrer, Scottish Water’s customer service director, received a £214,000 remuneration deal which included a £49,000 bonus.
And finance director Douglas Millican’s £237,000 wage package included a £55,000 income top-up.
The £273,000 bonus total is down on the £333,000 paid out to the same men in the previous financial year, however Mr Ackroyd chose to donate 25 per-cent of his full bonus of £84,502 to charity.
As part of their benefits, Mr Banks and Mr Millican each received £28,512 to “enable the purchase of a car for business use.”
The bonuses are paid according to agreed targets regarding leakage performance and pre-tax profits.
Scottish Labour’s deputy finance spokesman David Whitton said: “I think these bonuses are ridiculous.
“Why Richard Ackroyd needs a £63,000 bonus on top of his £263,000 salary is beyond me.
“He may have waived 25 per-cent but he shouldn’t get one in the first place.”
Derek Brownlee, the Scottish Conservatives’ finance spokesman, said: “I don’t take the view that bonuses are never justified, but the problem we have here is that the Scottish Water chief executive is already the best paid public sector official.
“In that context, I don’t think the public will stand for this kind of bonus.
“This utility has to fall in line with the prevailing mood of public sector restraint.”
Scottish Water said the pay perks were an important way of ensuring the publically-owned utility could compete with private sector firms.
Helen Lennox, head of corporate affairs, said: “The current remuneration package for directors reflects the need to retain and motivate high-calibre personnel and to ensure that the business can compete directly with the private sector for talent.
“The framework is similar in structure to that elsewhere in the water industry but delivers pay levels which are lower than that benchmark.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “This is clearly a matter for Scottish Water but the Finance Secretary has been clear that we are facing a period of real financial constraint, which is why every effort must be made to ensure that pay, especially for the highest-paid people in the public sector, is affordable and sustainable.”