British PM vows crackdown on executive pay

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British Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to give shareholders the right to veto executive pay packages, amid mounting political pressure and public anger over huge salaries and bonuses.

"The market for top people isn't working, it needs to be sorted out," he told The Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

"Let's empower the shareholders by having a straight, shareholder vote on top paid packages."

Despite repeated controversies over bosses being handed huge payoffs even in cases where companies have failed, currently shareholders can only express their disapproval through an advisory vote.

No details have been agreed on how the new arrangements would work, but they could form part of reforms being worked on by business minister Vince Cable. He is due to publish results of a wide-ranging consultation this month.

Cameron's pledge came after growing calls from the main opposition Labour party to crack down on exorbitant pay packages as families are forced to tighten their belts amid continued economic gloom.

Labour has put forward proposals to curb executive pay, such as a place for employees on remuneration boards.

In an interview published Saturday, Labour leader Ed Miliband scorned Cameron's stance on executive pay.

"Does anyone really believe that David Cameron came into politics to create more responsible capitalism? The public are not going to buy it," he said.

But in Sunday's interview the Conservative premier insisted he was determined to deal with "the merry-go-round, where there's too many cases of remuneration committee members sitting on each other's boards, patting each other's backs, and handing out each other's pay rises."

The Conservatives' junior coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, have also spoken out in favour of curbing executive pay.

© 2012 AFP

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