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Brown wants explanation of plans for Thames chief's pay

Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer, stepped into a new fat cats pay row over plans to raise the salary of Sir Robert Clarke, Thames Water chairman, at a time when his responsibilities were declining. Mr Brown said he was seeking "clarification and an explanation" of proposals to increase Sir Robert's pounds 247,000 pay packet.

Sir Robert is gradually handing over responsibilities to chief executive Bill Alexander, who was appointed in September. Sir Robert is not due to retire for another two years. Thames Water insisted there were no plans for substantial rises to Sir Robert's salary, and said it was not aware of any unrest among shareholders. "Sir Robert might get a small cost of living increase, but that's not decided yet. There's no great increase planned," a spokesman for Thames added.