Lib Dem Conference: Boardroom pay - Delegates reject attack on `fat cat' rises

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DELEGATES THREW out a motion to curb the pay of boardroom "fat cats" in the privatised utilities following leadership anxiety that it was too anti-wealth creation.

They also complained that the motion moved by Archy Kirkwood, MP for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, was badly drafted. It called for workers to be represented on company remuneraton committees, a statutory right for shareholders to vote on directors' pay rises, and more openness about big boardroom pay outs. Outlining pay rises that have pushed some directors' salaries above pounds 1m a year, Mr Kirkwood said: "These are hardly models of restraint." He denied that the move was "anti-business", saying that self-regulation had failed.

But councillor Ron Beadle, from Gateshead, warned it would be difficult to legislate purely for the privatised utilities. Warning that the motion could be seen as an attack on industry, he said: "Just because we cannot see the skills of top directors doesn't mean they aren't there."