Business Secretary Vince Cable must 'add legitimacy' on executive salary plans

Business Secretary Vince Cable needs to 'add legitimacy' to his plans to force big firms to explain top wages, according to one public affairs expert.

Vince Cable: calls for crackdown on exec salaries
Vince Cable: calls for crackdown on exec salaries
Cable took to the Liberal Democrats Party Conference stage yesterday to deliver a number of attacks on the Conservatives, slamming the Tories’ wish to axe the 50p tax on the wealthy, and insisting the Lib Dems are reining in their coalition colleagues.

He also appealed to party activists with his vows to tackle 'the escalation of executive pay', assuring the conference he was consulting on how best to deal with salaries that have 'lost any connection with the value of shares, let alone average employee pay'.

But Insight Public Affairs director James Tyrrell warned that the Business Secretary must be clear in his comms around the plans to avoid claims of an ‘anti-capitalist attack’.

‘It is clear Cable still has unfinished business with the bonus culture in the banking sector, so to add legitimacy to his calls he must widen his sights to take in the whole of industry,’ said Tyrrell.

‘Cable is going to have to be clear that this is not an anti-capitalist attack on high pay per se, but rather a move aimed at adding transparency to business reporting in the interests of fairness.'

Cable’s announcement follows Lib Dem Treasury minister Danny Alexander's calls to crack down on tax evasion among the UK top earners. On Sunday, he told the conference that more than 2,000 tax inspectors will be recruited to help prevent tax evasion.

Freelance public affairs consultant Lionel Zetter said: ‘The Lib Dems are in good heart and reasonable shape. Compared with the mood at their spring conference in Sheffield, they are positively euphoric.

‘Tory backbenchers grumbling about the undue influence Lib Dem ministers have in government has done more for party morale than any number of fiery speeches or pandering policy announcements.’

Cicero director and chief corporate counsel Iain Anderson said of the conference's tone and messaging: ‘The Lib Dems in Government are trying to give their activists real yellow "meat" and paint a distinctiveness from the Conservatives at their conference. But they need to do this throughout the year and not just at party conference.’

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