Pay gap may be “out of control”

The gap between those at the top and bottom of the pay scale has widened significantly and may be "out of control", according to a new report on high pay.

The gap between those at the top and bottom of the pay scale has widened significantly and may be "out of control", according to a new report on high pay.

The High Pay Commission’s interim report,  More For Less: what has happened to pay at the  top and does it matter? , reveals the dramatic growth in pay experienced by those at the top of the income distribution over the last 30 years and discusses the causes of this growth.

It isreleased in tandem with a new ICM poll which shows that 72% of the public think high pay makes Britain grossly unequal whilst 73% have no faith in government or business to tackle excessive high pay.  The poll shows that, from a range of options, the majority of the public (57%) wants top pay linked clearly to company performance, while half (50%) want shareholders to have a direct say on senior pay and bonus packages.

Chair of the High Pay Commission, Deborah Hargreaves, said: “This is the clearest evidence so far that the gap between pay of the general public and the corporate elite is widening rapidly and is out of control.  Set against the tough spending measures and mixed company performance, we have to ask ourselves whether we are paying more and getting less.”

Robert Talbut, Commissioner, and Chief Investment Officer of Royal London Asset Management said: “As the polling shows there is a clear public interest in tackling top pay, and increasingly there is a clear business interest too.  In part because companies depend on public support but also because the evermore complicated pay packages designed to incentivise performance for top executives – that have contributed to a ballooning in pay at the top – do not appear to have worked. The clear and necessary link between executive pay and company performance appear tenuous at best.

Ahead of its final report, due in the autumn, the High Pay Commission proposes a framework for fair pay through: reforms on transparency, greater accountability and developing a fair framework for fair pay.

The High Pay Commission will be commissioning additional research on the issue of high pay and developing policy proposals that could seek to mitigate or reduce this dramatic trend. The High Pay Commission will report finally in November 2011.





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