The chief executive of Network Rail (NR) is to receive an annual bonus of nearly £100,000 even though the rail infrastructure company failed to meet some of its performance targets.
Five other top NR directors will be getting bonuses of between £59,000 and £67,000, the company announced.
%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%Chief executive Sir David Higgins and his fellow executive directors could have been awarded annual bonuses of up to 60% of their annual salaries if all performance targets had been reached.
But with the company failing to meet some targets, including its trains-on-time target , the top bosses have got bonuses worth only 17% of their salaries. But this still means that Sir David, who is on an annual salary of £577,000, will get a bonus for 2012/13 of £99,082.
Group finance director Patrick Butcher, who is on a salary of £394,000, will get a bonus of £67,658, with network operations managing director Robin Gisby and infrastructure projects managing director Simon Kirby both getting bonuses of £63,708. Paul Plummer, the company's group strategy director, is being awarded a bonus of £59,759.
NR has received warnings from the Office of Rail Regulation about its trains-on-time performance, with long-distance train punctuality being particularly singled out. The minimum target for which the executives would have qualified for any bonus in the train punctuality category was 92% of trains on time, with the maximum bonuses available if the figure reached 92.5%. In the event, the actual 2012/13 punctuality figure was 90.9%.
Where NR did particularly well was in meeting its passenger satisfaction bonus target of 84.3% but the company failed to reach its financial efficiency and asset stewardship targets.
NR chairman Richard Parry-Jones said: "2012 was a year of positive progress for the company with some great highs - delivering seamless transport for the Olympics - to lows of frustration with a slowdown in our rate of delivering better train punctuality. While this was particularly impacted by a year of extreme weather, the wettest on record, we are working to improve the resilience of our network to cope with such demands."
He went on: "The remuneration committee felt that while performance was good in most areas, truly exceptional performance had not been achieved in financial efficiency and asset stewardship, and our train performance targets were not met. But we also needed to recognise the significant successes that had been delivered in the business during the year."
Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle said: "Ministers must now act and make clear that bonuses on this scale are simply not appropriate in a company that receives nearly four billion pounds of taxpayers' money every year. At a time when people are struggling to make ends meet, this out-of-touch decision will simply add to the growing feeling that we need real reform to the way the rail industry operates in Britain."
10 of the biggest consumer rip-offs
Rail boss to get £99,000 bonus
Using a mobile phone to make and receive calls, send texts and browse the web while abroad can be extremely costly – especially if you are travelling outside the European Union (EU), where calls can cost up to 10 times as much as at home.
To avoid high charges, Carphone Warehouse suggests tourists ensure a data cap is in place, use applications to check data usage, turn off 'data roaming', avoid data-intensive applications such as Google Maps and YouTube and use wi-fi spots to update social networking sites.
Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) is supposed to help people to continue meeting their loan, mortgage or credit card repayments if they fall ill or lose their jobs. However, policies are often over-priced, riddled with exclusions and sold to people who could not make a claim if they needed to.
At one point, sale of this cover - which was often included automatically in loan repayments - was estimated to boost the banks' profits by up to £5 billion a year.
Now, though, consumers who were mis-sold PPI can fight back by complaining to the bank or lender concerned and taking their case to the Financial Ombudsman Service (08000 234567) should the response prove unsatisfactory.
It could be you, but let's face it, it probably won't be. In fact, buying a ticket for the Lotto only gives you a 1 in 13.9 million chance of winning the jackpot.
With odds like that, you would almost certainly be better off hanging on to your cash and saving it in a high-interest account.
No-frills airlines such as EasyJet may promote rock-bottom prices on their websites. But the overall fare you pay can be surprisingly high once extras such as luggage and credit card payment fees have been added - a process known as drip pricing.
Taking one piece of hold baggage on a return EasyJet flight, for example, adds close to £20 to the cost of your flight, while paying by credit card increases the price by a further £10.
It may therefore be worth comparing the total cost with that of a flight with a standard airline such as British Airways.
Cash advances, which include cash withdrawals, are generally charged at a much higher rate of interest than standard purchases.
While the average credit card interest rate is around 17%, a typical cash withdrawal of £500, for example, is charged at more than 26%.
What's more, as the interest accrues from the date of the transaction, rather than the next payment date, costs will mount up even if you clear your balance in full with your next payment.
Supermarkets such as Tesco and Asda often run promotions under which you can, for example, get three products for the price of two.
However, it is only worth taking advantage of these deals if you will actually use the products. Otherwise, you are simply buying for the sake of it, which is a waste of your hard-earned cash.
Buy a train ticket at the station on the day of travel and the price is likely to give you a shock - especially if you are travelling a long distance at a busy time of day.
However, you can cut the cost of train travel by 50% or more by going online and making the purchase beforehand - especially if you book 12 weeks in advance, which is when the cheapest tickets are on sale.
Other ways to reduce the price you pay include avoiding peak times and taking advantage of so-called carnet tickets, which allow you to buy, for example, 12 journeys for the price of 10.
Most High Street banks offer packaged accounts that come with monthly fees ranging from £6.50 up to as much as £40, with a typical account charging about £15 per month.
Various benefits, such as travel insurance and mobile phone insurance, are offered in return for this fee. But whether or not it is worth paying for them depends on your individual circumstances.