§ The Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. John Major)
Pay is for the parties involved to agree and it is not for the Government to intervene.
§ Mr. Cohen
What a cop-out answer! How does the Chancellor justify an average increase of 23 per cent. for top directors when inflation is 8 per cent. and workers are having to accept much less than that? How does the Chief Secretary justify a 20 per cent. increase for ICI bosses, 34 per cent. for Unilever's boss, 43 per cent. for Barclay's boss, 47 per cent. for Cadbury's boss, 48 per cent. for BP's bosses, 58 per cent. for Sun Alliance bosses, 100 per cent. for Legal and General's bosses and 100 per cent. for P and O's? Is not the reason that the Conservatives and those directors have the same incestuous class interest? Regardless of the economic effect, there is Government condemnation for workers' pay rises and a free-for-all for top directors.
§ Mr. Major
I am bound to say that I think that the hon. Gentleman has a rather limited view of directors. Contrary to his vivid expression, the vast majority are able, efficient and effective, and we need the best management. Notwithstanding that, I have never justified wage or salary increases that are unjustifiable, and I do not do so now. It is not, however, for me to determine what is or is not justifiable in that respect.
§ Mr. Bill Walker
Does my right hon. Friend agree that there are only two resources in any company—money arid people—and that it is the way in which those resources are managed and deployed that results in profitability or loss in operation? It is only right that those who create the profits should, as a result of the shareholders' wishes, be properly remunerated.