Electricity chief under fire over pounds 1m pay-off

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LABOUR has attacked the anticipated pounds 1m pay-off in shares and options the chairman of the electricity company Manweb is likely to receive when he retires later this month.

Brian Weston, 64, became chairman in 1985 and after privatisation in 1990 his pay rose from pounds 79,449 to pounds 214,000 a year in 1992. He then became non-executive chairman working two days a week for pounds 75,000 a year.

Frank Dobson, Labour's campaigns co-ordinator, described the pay-off yesterday as 'just another round in the privatisation rip-off'.

Mr Weston holds 121,878 ordinary shares, worth pounds 882,396 at yesterday's price of pounds 7.24. He also has an option under an executive share scheme for directors to buy 47,945 shares at pounds 3.65 each, with seven years from 15 January to act on the deal. At yesterday's prices he would accumulate another pounds 172,122.55.

Another option under a Manweb savings scheme allows him to buy another 3,128 shares from March to August 1996 at pounds 1.75 each, which could bring him pounds 17,172.72 - a potential total windfall of more than pounds 1,071,000.