Labour seeks to trump Cameron with curbs on excessive pay
Miliband’s tough talk could help Lib Dems as Coalition prepares to release its proposals
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Saturday 07 January 2012
Labour outflanked the Government last night by announcing sweeping plans to curb excessive pay in the City of London and Britain's boardrooms.
Ed Miliband promised that a future Labour Government would implement in full a blueprint published by the independent High Pay Commission in November. It called for greater transparency, accountability and fairness to halt "stratospheric pay awards" for the top 0.1 per cent of earners that it said have created inequalities not seen since the Victorian era.
Its proposals include putting employees on remuneration committees; publishing the top 10 executive pay packages outside the boardroom; forcing companies to publish a pay ratio between the highest-paid executive and the median; forcing companies to reveal the total pay earned by executives; and setting up a permanent body to monitor high pay.
Labour's move is designed to trump David Cameron, who is expected to reveal the Government's plans to restrict high pay this weekend. Yesterday the Prime Minister said he was "not satisfied" with the level of bankers' bonuses, which were "completely out of whack". He added: "We've seen a level of reward at the top that has just not been commensurate with success."
Labour's intervention will put pressure on the Government to beef up its own plans. It may strengthen the hand of Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, and Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary, who wants to close down the "old boys' network" in which senior businessmen in effect set each other's pay by chairing remuneration committees at other companies.
In an interview in today's Guardian, Mr Miliband said: "Does anyone really believe that David Cameron came into politics to create a more responsible capitalism? The public are not going to buy it."
Defending himself against growing criticism of his leadership, Mr Miliband said: "We have taken the hard road, not the line of least resistance. I think it is a fight. I always knew it was going to be a fight. It is one I relish – I never expected it to be anything else."
Chuka Umunna, the shadow Business Secretary, said: "Excessive executive pay is bad for business because perverse incentives foster poor decision making, as we saw during the financial crash, and they divert resources away from long-term investment. Rewards for failure are bad for society because they undermine trust in the entire system." There is growing support among Conservative as well as Liberal Democrat MPs for a crackdown on "crony capitalism".
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination
I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title
- 1 Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies after injuring spine doing somersault celebration
- 2 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 3 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming that the street artist's identity has been revealed
- 4 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming that the street artist's identity has been revealed
'Russian submarine spotted' by Swedish military off coast of Stockholm
Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver allegedly kicks gay couple off for kissing
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...
£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...
£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...