Edinburgh City Council boss walks away with thousands


THE former boss of a cash-strapped Scots council has walked away with thousands in his pension pot as the local authority prepares to axe hundreds of jobs.

Tom Aitchison, 59, retired last month after spending 16 years as chief executive of the City of Edinburgh Council.

He walks away with a £210,000 lump sum and a £73,000-a-year pension while the council is left with £1.3 billion in debt.

The SNP-Lib Dem-run council’s debts have almost doubled in five years.

Aitchison’s departure came just three months after plans were announced to cut at least 300 jobs to make £90 million worth of savings over the next three years.

And the massive pension deal has shocked many councillors.

Tory councillor Jason Rust said: “Long service requires to be recognised, but given budgetary constraints we need to look very carefully at all such future payments.

“The era of the golden handshake is now dead.

“When jobs are under threat and people are facing uncertain futures, the idea that we are all in this together is important.

“It is crucial that senior officials are treated similarly to those further down the scale.”

During his career Aitchison earned £158,000-a-year which was more than the Prime Minister’s salary.

The former chief executive oversaw the council’s tram fiasco which has spiralled £100 million over budget.

The project has been mired in delays, cutbacks and arguments and costs are set to mount to £600 million.

His replacement is ex-Aberdeen City Council chief executive Sue Bruce who will net even more than her predecessor with a salary of £160,000 a year.

Liberal Democrat councillor Phil Wheeler, convener of the council’s Finance Committee, said: “We’re legally obliged to provide staff of all ranks with the chance to join the pension scheme.

“Tom will have paid into that pension over the length of his career and is entitled to receive the benefits, as would any member of staff.”