Suffolk and Essex MPs join chorus of disapproval over rail bonuses
- Credit: PA
East Anglian MPs have added their voices to calls for bonuses to be withheld from Network Rail bosses after a year of failures to complete work on time.
And anger among passengers has grown after it emerged that Network Rail’s chief executive remained at his Cornish holiday home while engineering over-runs caused the closure of two of London’s busiest stations in the days after Christmas.
The company’s chief executive Mark Carne did travel to a radio studio in Truro to tell the BBC that the maximum bonus he would be likely to get would be 5% of his annual salary of £675,000 – however it is possible that he could get 20% of his salary as a bonus.
Mr Carne said that any bonus would be a matter for NR’s remuneration committee.
Pressed to give an answer to the question of whether he would take a bonus, Mr Carne said there was far more important things to discuss.
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He said he had set up an internal review of the weekend problems and was also urging a wider, industry review of the timing of big engineering works.
However both Ipswich MP Ben Gummer and Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell said there should be no question of bonus payments for NR bosses.
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Although this region avoided the problems over the Christmas period, there were several engineering overruns during the summer – and as recently as early December passengers faced delays after work over-ran.
Mr Gummer said: “I am increasingly concerned about the ability of Network Rail to run its maintenance and investment projects.
“We are putting record amounts of money into the railway but NR seems unable to spend it without inconveniencing passengers.
“I even more worried about what will happen on the GEML when the major upgrade we secured in the Autumn Statement begins later this year.
“If NR is failing to deliver on smaller projects this frequently, I hate to think what will happen when it gets going on something bigger.”
He said there should be no bonuses paid until NR proved it could organise work efficiently.
Sir Bob said: “It is absolutely unthinkable that anyone from Network Rail should get bonuses after all the problems of the last year – they should have their salary docked rather than getting a bonus.
“And it is totally unacceptable that the boss should stay on holiday in Cornwall when all this is happening in London.
“Thank God we’ve escaped the worst in this part of the country this time but we’ve had enough problems with their failures to complete work on time this year!”