HC Deb 10 July 1997 vol 297 cc1067-8
14. Mr. Gibb

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he last met the director general of the Confederation of British Industry to discuss the impact of the Budget on business costs. [6192]

Mr. Darling

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor met the CBI on 18 June and I am due to meet its representatives shortly.

Mr. Gibb

At that meeting, did the Chancellor raise his plans to abolish foreign income dividends? Does the Chief Secretary now regret that decision? Will he confirm whether he will proceed with that ill-thought-out and highly damaging measure? The earlier answer from the Economic Secretary will simply add further confusion to an already confused and highly unsatisfactory situation.

Mr. Darling

The situation is not confused at all. My hon. Friend the Paymaster General made the Government's position absolutely clear on Friday at the conclusion of that day's debate on the Budget. If the hon. Gentleman wants to see what my hon. Friend said, he need do no more than read Hansard. The situation is widely understood, particularly by those affected.

Mr. Winnick

Would not business costs be less if some of the top bosses paid themselves less in increases? Is my right hon. Friend aware of the 20 per cent. increase given to the director general of the BBC? He will now receive a salary of £354,000 a year. That is in addition to a number of perks, including petrol for private use, two cars and the rest of it. At the same time, redundancies have been announced at the BBC and, in general, employees receive an average increase of less than 2 per cent. Is it not time that the director general of the BBC was told that the organisation is in the public sector and that those who lead public service organisations should behave somewhat differently? Frankly, is it not time that the director general left that organisation?

Mr. Darling

I am bound to confess that I am not familiar with every detail of the director general's pay package. I shall repeat what I have said before, which is that those who lead companies should set an example to all their employees and all those concerned with the firm. Whether they do that is largely a matter for the companies and organisations involved and those to whom the director is responsible.

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