TfL bosses handed bonuses against advice

Transport for London (TfL) rewarded senior bosses with five-figure bonuses in 2021/22 despite being urged by government to resist, Construction News can reveal.

Last November, former parliamentary under-secretary of state for transport Trudy Harrison urged TfL to “demonstrate prudence” in rewarding bosses this year – stressing that bonuses should not be paid “through extraordinary government funding”.

“The government does not expect TfL to authorise individual bonus pay awards,” Harrison said in response to a written parliamentary question about TfL senior bosses’ pay bonuses.

Despite warnings from the government to hold back on bonuses, CN understands that a number of leading figures at TfL were rewarded in 2021/22, including its former chief financial officer Simon Kilonback.

According to TfL draft annual accounts for the financial year to 31 March 2022, Kilonback tabled a £77,800 bonus on top of his £327,400 salary.

TfL’s chief operating officer Andy Lord also received a bonus of £23,700, in addition to his £320,000 salary.

Chief capital officer Stuart Harvey and chief people officer Tricia Wright also brought home five-figure bonuses of £84,400 and £63,700 respectively.

But former TfL commissioner Andy Byford, who announced last week he would be stepping down in October, was not paid a bonus. His salary was recorded as £355,000.

The accounts state that all bonuses were related to TfL’s 2019/2020 performance, which were “deferred until 2021/2022”.

A TfL spokesperson said bonuses paid in 2021/2022 were deferred from 2019/2020, due to the pandemic.

They said: “The base salaries of the commissioner and most senior staff have been frozen since 2016/17.

“Those who have received a pay rise, received one because their roles have significantly increased in scope and they have taken on additional responsibility, which demanded a higher reward.”

New thinking over bonus payments at the end of 2021 means they will only be paid “if TfL achieves financial sustainability by April 2023”, the transport body added.

“[The system] has been designed to ensure that any payment remains consistent with the terms of its funding agreement with government,” it said.

Commenting on the deferred bonuses paid in 2021/22, a DfT spokesperson said: “While showing unwavering support to London’s transport network through our long-term settlement, we have ensured the taxpayer is protected.”

The government added that, following the long-term agreement it had asked the mayor and TfL to follow public sector pay guidance.

In August, Transport for London (TfL) agreed a long-term funding deal with the government following a series of short-term resolutions.

The package, which covers £3.6bn of works, helped to guarantee the future of a number of key projects in the capital, including the Bank station upgrade, the Northern Line extension, and the reopening of Hammersmith Bridge.

As part of the deal, TfL also greed to cut around £90m from its budget for 2022/23, and £140m for the year 2023/24.

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