UK’s top bosses paid millions during cost of living crisis
The UK’s top bosses have been raking in millions of pounds in pay, despite the ongoing cost of living crisis.
Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer, and National Grid are among the companies that have rewarded their chief executives with substantial pay packages, as disclosed in annual reports released on Tuesday.
John Pettigrew, the high-profile energy executive at National Grid, saw his earnings rise to £7.2 million in the last financial year, up from £6.6 million the previous year.
While his fixed pay decreased, his variable pay, which includes bonuses and long-term incentives, increased from £5.2 million to nearly £6 million.
Simon Roberts, the CEO of Sainsbury’s, enjoyed a 36 percent pay increase last year, taking home £4.9 million, beating the pay of his counterpart at rival Tesco.
This increase was largely attributed to a £2.3 million long-term bonus, in addition to a £1.7 million annual bonus and a 3.5 percent raise in basic pay.
At Marks & Spencer, the co-chief executives, Stuart Machin and Katie Bickerstaffe, both received over £2 million in pay last year due to a surge in sales and profits.
Machin earned £2.5 million, including a £1 million bonus, while Bickerstaffe earned £2.25 million, with a bonus of £989,000.
These remunerations have come under scrutiny as supermarkets and energy companies have faced accusations of profiteering during a period of rampant food inflation and an energy crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The disparity between executive pay and the struggles faced by families has been criticized by advocacy groups, highlighting the challenges faced by households experiencing the energy bills crisis and living in cold and damp homes.
While companies like National Grid have defended executive pay based on good business performance and long-term value creation, critics argue such high salaries are out of touch with the reality of many people’s lives.
Despite the pay increases for top bosses, it should be noted that some companies have implemented wage hikes for their shop-floor staff.
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Sainsbury’s provided a 10 percent pay rise for its shop-floor workers, while Marks & Spencer’s CEO pay increase was accompanied by a three percent raise for basic salary.