YOUR article on Maryhill Housing Association ("Public-sector landlord launches probe into ‘rule breach’", The Herald, July 15) reminded me of an issue that gets an occasional airing in the Letters Pages, namely public sector pay (and pension provision). The usual target is local government, where pay is actually quite modest and pension provision is, unlike most of the rest of the public sector, through a “real” and effective pension fund.

Housing associations have grown up over a great many years, including a few that were created during the council stock transfer programme (including the largest, Glasgow Housing Association). They vary in size from very small to quite large organisations. However chief executive salaries appear to bear little comparison with those in local government. For example, Maryhill HA has around 3,500 houses (very modest by local government standards) but the CEO’s post attracts a salary (before benefits) of £85,000. The highest paid appears to be Glasgow HA’s CEO, who earns around £282k, considerably more than the city council’s CEO, who has an enormous budget, staffing and range of functions.

Housing associations operate in a strange “interzone”, being largely registered as charities, publicly funded, and yet operating pay and conditions more akin to the private sector.

Other organisations which either used to be embedded within the public sector or which would/should have been, seem to enjoy pay beyond that which would have been tenable within the public sector. For example, chief executives of colleges of further education, for example: Forth Valley College’s annual accounts for the 2017 and 2018 indicate that the CEO earned in salary and pension £205/210k and £175/180k respectively (the notes add that the incumbent reached HMRC’s lifetime allowance for pension contributions in 2017 and his pension contribution thereafter is paid as salary – quite a feat).

Another area are those organisations funded by the public purse but which for some reason have been set up as agencies or in some cases private companies. Many of these appear on the National Public Bodies Directory and if you look hard enough you will find the salaries of the top people. However, there are others that are absent from the list and are therefore more opaque than a publicly funded body should be.

Salary is always a controversial subject. However, local government salaries are virtually always under the spotlight and are scrutinised by elected members who are ever watchful of the public mood. There are nonetheless other areas of the public realm that are not subject to such scrutiny and whose salaries, pension contributions and other benefits seem to be out of kilter when compared to the wider public sector.

Colin Clark, Inverness.