Cable vows to call time on 'payouts for failure'


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The Independent Online

Big companies will have to justify lavish rewards for senior executives and present easily digestible information about their pay, pensions and bonuses, under moves to be announced today by Vince Cable.

The Liberal Democrat Business Secretary will detail plans to give shareholders transparent and complete information about directors' remuneration, telling his party's conference that he intends to "call time on payouts for failure". He will also outline proposals to give shareholders greater powers to veto excessive pay deals and appoint workers' representatives to remuneration boards.

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, is attempting to use the gathering in Birmingham to "relentlessly hammer home" to activists and voters the message that the Liberal Democrats are making a difference in government.

The party's ministers are preparing to highlight achievements in raising the income tax threshold, introducing the pupil premium, promoting the green agenda, and reining in the Tories' hardline instincts on Europe, cutting tax for the rich and law and order.

Lib Dem strategists hope to position the party as the "social conscience" of the Coalition but with economic credibility from tackling the deficit.

"We'll be saying Labour may care about people but they left the country bankrupt, while the Tories can run the economy but don't have a social conscience," said one Lib Dem source. "We need to get the message out there that the Liberal Democrats can handle the finances and create a fairer society."

Mr Cable will use his speech to conference to promise to tackle Britain's "appalling inequalities of wealth and incomes" as he forces thousands of firms to disclose the total annual income of named board members.