For cash get mash: government potato chief on up to £52K


ALMOST 1,500 civil servants are paid at least £40,000 a year – including the ‘head of potato branch’, a ‘plant health consultant’ and 27 spin doctors.

The number of officials on big salaries of up to £52,000 and beyond has been labelled a “bloated bureaucracy” by tax payers’ campaigners.

The Scottish Government was asked to provide details under Freedom of Information about all employees earning pay cheques of more than £40,000 a year.

A Scottish civil servant is paid up to £52,000 annually as head of "potato branch".
A Scottish civil servant is paid up to £52,000 annually as head of “potato branch”.


1,450 members of staff are currently paid at least £40k – more than 10k higher than the average Scottish wage of £28,296 per year.

Among the highly paid staff revealed was an “astonishing” 27 people working in communications, PR and marketing.

The ‘head of potato branch’, responsible for the certification of seed potatoes and the registration of new potato varieties, and a ‘plant health consultant’ who advises on legislation relating to plant health in relation to potatoes, were among the high earners, in a salary brackets that pay up to £52,595.

People working in ‘communications wealthier and fairer’, ‘communications smarter’, ‘communications healthier ‘and ‘communications greener’ were also handed fat pay packets.

A ‘fish health inspectorate leader’, who manages the work of the fish health inspectorate, was also in the high pay bracket.

It also emerged that a Scottish civil servant is receiving a salary of up to £52,000 a year – despite having no job title at all.

Ironically, the employee listed as “No Job Title Given” works for the Scottish Government’s ‘Fiscal Responsibility Division’.

Meanwhile, the principal researcher in the “equality and poverty research” branch is also being paid up to £52,000.

A senior researcher at the poverty branch is paid up to £40,000.

The Scottish government is also employing a “senior plant pathologist” on an annual salary of up to £40k.

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “It is disappointing to see so many middle managers, particularly at a time when public sector pay is being restrained.

“The Scottish Government has become weighed down by a bloated bureaucracy that has become dominated by well-paid middle managers. Ministers have to make necessary spending cuts and that must include reducing the wealth of expensive non jobs across government.”

A spokesman from Taxpayer Scotland added: “It is astonishing that the Scottish Government is choosing to maintain so many communications staff and pay them well above the average public sector salary at a time when budgets across Scotland are under such severe pressure.

A Scottish Government spokesman said pay ranges were assigned in relation to the roles and responsibilities of the position.

He said: ?“The Scottish Government is committed to a pay policy that is fair, protects jobs and services and supports the lowest earners. We have continued to freeze the pay of the highest earners and have capped the level of basic pay awards for all other staff to one per cent.

?“Pay ranges are assigned in relation to the roles and responsibilities of the position and to support the recruitment and retention of staff.

“All pay awards are consistent with the Scottish Government’s public sector pay policy.” ?


  1. Sensationalism of the highest order. The spelling of potato gives insight of how poorly researched this article is.

  2. I don’t suppose it occurred to ask for instance how valuable is the potato industry to Scotland (seed potato production alone is worth £100 million and is a critical part of the whole UK potato industry), or how important is plant health to our agricultural and forestry industries and indeed to protecting our biodiversity and what is the economic value of that? Oh, and what a surprise, we have a fish health inspectorate, I supposed it escaped your notice that we have a huge fish farming industry, an important sport fishing industry and we even still have a sea fishing fleet. The farming of salmon alone is a 500million+ industry I’d have thought some people would be relieved that there are at least a handful of people in the civil service who are able to explain the issues on health and disease to the idiots who actually make policies affecting these industries, and who can also ensure that policies are implemented effectively. How much is Peter Laing paid, because on the evidence of this badly written and under-researched bilge it’s too much!

Comments are closed.