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Labour on attack

Big bonuses for Scottish Water chiefs as bills rise

Jackie Baillie

Jackie Baillie: ‘shocking waste of public money’ (pic: Terry Murden)

Scottish Water officials received hundreds of thousands in bonuses and allowances, while planning to hike water bills for millions of Scots, it has been revealed.

The delayed 2019/20 annual report published by Scottish Water yesterday revealed that three senior executives picked up £10,000 each for “car benefit or car allowance” despite the vast majority of its business being conducted remotely.

Scottish Labour says the Scottish Water report states that all remunerations for executive members are agreed by the Scottish government prior to the appointment of a member.

In addition to the £30,000 combined car allowances which have been given, the three executive members also received a combined total of £332,000 in bonuses for 2019/20. The chief executive, Douglas Millican, received £93,000 in annual out-performance incentive payments (AOIP) in 2019.

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The chief operating officer and finance director received a total of £138,000 and £101,000 respectively in AOIPs for 2019 and 2020.

Commenting, Scottish Labour deputy leader and finance spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “This shocking waste of public money will come as a slap in the face to millions of Scots who are staring down the barrel at spiralling water price increases.

“That the SNP has stood by and allowed eye-watering bonuses that are much more than the average salary is simply extraordinary, especially during the pandemic.

“The fact that they also allowed thousands of pounds of public money for car benefits despite the fact that the vast majority of business has been conducted remotely for almost a year is a joke.

“It’s time the SNP got to grips with the damage done to the public purse and stopped these eye-watering bonuses when the cost of water bills are rising by much more than the rate of inflation.”

A Scottish Water spokesperson said: “Executive pay reflects the essential nature of the water and waste water services provided to five million domestic customers around the clock. 

“Our directors run the fourth biggest water and waste water business in the UK and a substantial investment programme, which supports thousands of construction jobs and helps boost local economies. Our water plays a key role in maintaining public health. 

“Scottish Water must attract and retain leadership talent in competition with private sector utilities and other organisations across the UK. 

“Performance-related elements are paid only when financial and environmental targets and customer experience levels are exceeded and verified by the external regulator.

“Executive remuneration levels are set by Scottish Water’s Board in a way which balances this with value for customers”. 

The chief executive salary is said to be the lowest of any UK water and waste water services utility.

He also waived a salary increase this year before it took effect and also waived his full incentive payment which was donated to charity. 



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