THE Canal & River Trust (CART) statement on executive directors remuneration, following transfer from British Waterways is both predictable and disingenuous, writes Allan Richards.
Following narrowboatworld's revelation that CART's chief executive received salary and benefits of over £600,000 in his last full year with British Waterways a statement was only to be expected.
Benefits, bonus and pension
Narrowboatworld published details of the chief executive's remuneration in his last full year with British Waterways as follows. Robin Evans was paid £222,000 plus bonus of £15,000 with other benefits of £11,683, giving a total salary of £248,683 for the year. In addition the value of his 'high earner' pension increased by £359,867.
In total, the chief executive stood to receive remuneration of £608,550 last year with over half of it via a 'tax avoidance' pension scheme.
Not the only one
However, the chief executive is not the only one with an eye watering remuneration package. The other six executive directors transferred to CART received remuneration between £302,000 (Stuart Mills, Property Director) and £424,000 (Jim Stirling, Technical Director).
In total remuneration for the seven CART directors was over £2.8 million last year, an average of over £400,000 per director.
The trustees have announced that they have made minor cuts to the remuneration packages of two directors (chief executive and finance director) but have increased the remuneration package of a third (property director). This is just tinkering in an attempt to make the public believe that some action is being taken.
Perversely, following Defra's capping of bonus, the trustees have failed to abandon a bonus scheme. Indeed, directors can earn higher bonus under CART than they could do in the last years of British Waterways!
On pensions, we are told nothing. On remuneration for four directors appointed to CART's trading company we also told nothing.
As the charity is in fact two companies, the trustees could have defined new executive director roles with appropriate remuneration packages . It did not happen. In particular, the abuse of high earner pensions where more is paid into pension funds than directors receive in basic salary continues unabated.
It was in 2009 that David Cameron first condemned the British Waterways fat cats. However, attempts by government to cap bonuses and pensions met with little success.
Grown rather than shrunk
Sadly, it looks as if it will be the same under CART and no doubt in a year's time we will find that last years £2.8 millions remuneration bill has grown rather than shrunk.
The gravy train has not been derailed. It has not stopped. It has not even slowed down.
It just rolls on!