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Letters: A level playing field on executive pay

According to a 2010 ComRes poll, those questioned said that the annual income of a FTSE chief executive should be £118,000. It then averaged £2.1m and has now increased to £3.8m. The major political parties seem to agree that growing inequality is a bad thing and that top pay needs close scrutiny. Why is it then that Vince Cable appears to want to keep shareholders, employees and the rest of us in the dark by rejecting the enforced full disclosure of what companies pay their employees (Unions attack Cable on executive pay, 24 January)? If the US Congress can adopt the Dodd-Frank Act, which gives shareholders a “say on pay” and requires disclosure of executive pay versus a company’s financial performance plus the publication of pay ratios within companies, then we should be able to overcome the obstacles that Cable seems to think rule out the idea in the UK.
Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson
Authors, The Spirit Level

• Mr Cable says there is no magic bullet for tackling bosses’ pay rising five times faster than the average wage. There is – it’s called supertax. When this was nineteen and six in the pound it was hardly worth paying exorbitant salaries, but it did not stop my father from succeeding as a businessman. A graduated, increasing income tax starting at 50% on £100,000 and going up by 10% for each £100,000 would net the Treasury considerable sums and make it not worthwhile to pay people more than half a million. Barack Obama in his state of the union speech called for a fairer tax system and we need to address our tax system, which benefits the rich at the expense of those with lesser incomes.
Wendy Savage
Co-chair, Keep Our NHS Public

• If Vince Cable really wants shareholders to control top pay, he should ask us, the real shareholders, and not leave it to fund managers. It would not be difficult to devise a mechanism for pension and other funds to consult their members.
Jonathan Hunt
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