It is hard to know who will take the political credit for Network Rail’s directors dropping their plan for any annual bonus this year: Ed Miliband or Justine Greening? Both had made clear their concerns about any extra pay-out to the board of the quasi-private company (which receives £4bn of taxpayers’ money every year) ahead of the announcement. Ms Greening, the transport secretary, had even vowed to turn up to a public meeting of the group on Friday to vote against its recommendations. Meanwhile there was growing pressure in the form of an early day motion by former Labour transport minister Tom Harris, signed by 30 MPs.
The news came through some five minutes ago: Not only will Network Rail delay its meetings of around 100 board members, which was due for Friday. Read more
Another week, another executive in the line of fire over their bonus. This week it is Sir David Higgins, the plain-speaking Australian in charge of Network Rail, which manages the country’s rail infrastructure.
NR members are about to vote on the pay structure under which executives will be allocated their bonuses later this year. The scheme could see Sir David pocket a £340,000 annual bonus (plus much more in long-term incentives), which has triggered anger given the company’s declining performance.
Justine Greening has now said she will become the first transport secretary in the company’s ten-year history to get involved with its administration when she attends a meeting to vote against the scheme.
But before she does so (in comments made, in fact, before the whole controversy blew up), Sir David has got his retaliation in first.