By Ray Fleming

I wonder how long those responsible decided on 99'000 pounds instead of 100'000 for the bonuses? The lower sum was probably chosen because it seemed less gross and might attract less criticism. Anyway, what's the odd thousand at such levels? These bloated bonuses for the five top executives of Britain's Network Rail are due to approve at the AGM of the company on 18 July.

The Chief Executive of Network Rail, Sir David Higgins, is on a salary of 577'00 pounds and the bonuses will run for three years. This is very strange.
The idea of a bonus, as I have always perhaps naively thought , is a reward for results achieved. How can it be calculated in advance when the results might not justify any bonus at all? The idea that highly paid people still need incentives to do their very best seems obscene.

In any case, why are bonuses being talked about at all at the moment when Network Rail's performance is rather poor. It missed all of its punctuality targets for England and Wales in the past year and a recent survey by the government's rail regulator showed that it is 23 percent less efficient than its European counterparts.

So shouldn't these executives be taking a cut or a freeze instead of bonuses until the results improve? Can anyone explain how a government funded body can operate in this way?