News this morning that directors of FTSE 100 companies gave themselves a 55 per cent rise in total remuneration in the last year would be astonishing at the best of times. At a time of job cuts, austerity and recent recession, it is even more surprising.
My colleague Jonathan Guthrie suggests in today’s Lombard column:
Short of throwing a champagne celebration for themselves outside a Merthyr Tydfil jobcentre, FTSE 100 bosses could not have shown less tact.
This is why I was frantically seeking political reaction yesterday to the report by Incomes Data Services, which is on our front page today. Criticism came obligingly from Vince Cable, union leaders and from Labour figures including John Denham (Kelvin Hopkins said it was a “moral outrage”.) Although it’s not quite clear that any of them have a magic bullet to solve the issue.
It’s not as if this isn’t a subject close to his heart, supposedly. During the summer he said salary differentials were far too wide – and called for Will Hutton’s official review should be extended to the private sector. (Hutton, curiously, is only tasked with examining state-sponsored salaries).
Miliband’s caution reminds me of Tuesday last week when Labour’s new leader didn’t attend the TUC rally (which he had promised to go on), with aides saying it wasn’t a rally.
You can understand his determination to shed the Red Ed tag and try to position Labour as close to the centre ground as possible. But those who heard him during scores of summer hustings may now be confused about what he does stand for.