Business secretary Vince Cable has retracted an attack on the earnings of boy band One Direction, whom he mistakenly called “New Direction”.
Speaking about plans to raise the government’s minimum wage Mr Cable remarked that the band’s earnings were “grossly immoral”.
At a news conference in London yesterday he reportedly said: "I think it is mad that the members of the boy band New Direction made £5 million each last year. I think it is crazy that many of the footballers are routinely paid £10 million a year to play football."
But Mr Cable later told Sky News he was simply agreeing with remarks made by head of the Institute of Directors Simon Walker, and that he had “misheard” the question believing it to be about the unjustified chief executives’ pay.
The business secretary also retracted his apparent criticism of the boy band, saying: "I don't want to attack One Direction, this is one particular group who are apparently very popular and very successful so I have nothing against them.”
He added: "But there is a general issue of chief execs in particular who are paid well beyond what can be justified in terms of the performance of their companies, and that's something the government is now trying to address.”
Yesterday Mr Cable announced plans to increase minimum wage by 12p an hour.
X Factor runners-up One Direction are managed by Simon Cowell’s label Syco. The fivesome, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne, all aged between 19 and 21, made their debut on the Sunday Times Young Music Rich List last week.