There was a significant amount of chortling in LDV Towers over the Telegraph’s report of Vince Cable’s comments about One Direction’s earnings. One member of our team even suggested photoshopping his head onto this photo of the boy band wearing onesies. Mercifully, copyright and lack of photoshopping skills on my part spares you that sight.
Vince thought he was being asked about, I presume, a director’s £5 million salary, which he described as “mad”, “downright immoral” and “grossly offensive”. It would be hardly surprising that he would take that view given his actions to curb executive pay. He added, as soon as he realised his mistake:
I don’t want to attack One Direction; this is one particular group who are apparently very popular and very successful so I have nothing against them.
But there is a general issue of Chief Execs in particular who are paid well beyond what can be justified in terms of the performance of their companies and that’s something the Government is now trying to address. I’ve brought forward legislation in Parliament that will take effect in October where shareholders will have a much stronger grip of their companies, there will be binding votes and much more transparency.
To me, though, the most important part of that article is when he tells how he defied the Low Pay Commission, who had recommended that the minimum wage for apprentices should be frozen because there was evidence that many employers were not complying with it. He insisted on an actual increase, saying:
Apprenticeships are at the heart of our goal to support a stronger economy, and so it is important to continue to make them attractive to young people. Therefore, I am not taking forward the LPC’s recommendation to freeze the apprenticeship rate due to non-compliance, but instead am raising it in line with the youth rates. We are working on a series of tough new measures to ensure we tackle non-compliance issues across the board.
Another thing we can put down to the Liberal Democrats being in Government, I guess.
* Caron Lindsay is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings