HC Deb 31 January 1977 vol 925 cc2-4
2. Mr. Gow

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he will make a statement about the remuneration of the directors of Cable and Wireless Limited.

3. Mr. Ridley

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement about the salaries to be paid in future to the directors of Cable and Wireless Limited.

The Secretary of State for Industry (Mr. Eric G. Varley)

I have nothing to add to the answers which my hon. Friend gave the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Gow) on 13th January.

Mr. Gow

Will the Secretary of State pay tribute to the directors of Cable and Wireless, which has had a post-tax profit increase of about 400 per cent. over the past six years? Is it not ludicrous that there should be more than 20 employees of Cable and Wireless whose salaries are in excess of those of the directors?

Mr. Varley

I join the hon. Member in paying tribute to a public company which has been so successful. As the hon. Member was told on 13th January, Cable and Wireless put certain proposals to me but they were unacceptable to the Government and I told the directors that.

Mr. Ridley

Has the Minister yet grasped the point that Cable and Wireless will not continue to be successful if its management is not properly rewarded? Does he not realise that what is necessary, instead of his absurd industrial strategy, is to pay managers properly for doing a good job?

Mr. Varley

I am in favour of paying everybody properly. As the hon. Gentleman knows—although he may not necessarily accept it—the Government have a prices and incomes policy, and if we had agreed to the proposals put by Cable and Wireless we would have violated that policy.

Mr. Norman Lamont

Is not Cable and Wireless having difficulty in filling the post of finance director? Instead of rushing to apply for the post, will the Ministear bear in mind that the company is considering having to appoint someone at sub-board level? Could not this experience be multiplied many times in the private sector? Since it is important that the best people should be tempted into the most important jobs, will the Minister persuade the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the next stage of the incomes policy or in his next Budget, to give some overdue recognition to management?

Mr. Varley

I will draw the Chancellor's attention to that point. It is the Government's intention to look at all these matters in relation to our policy for the next phase of the incomes policy.

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