A long-standing myth has bitten the dust again this week and not for the first time. For many years we were told that it is necessary to pay utterly obscene salaries and bonuses to “high fliers” at the top of public services etc. otherwise they would go abroad, leaving UK Plc depleted of the necessary talent that we need in an internationally competitive world. What utter nonsense. The senior executives of some of our major financial institutions have now joined a long line of leaders in public utilities and services, and in wider industry, in confirming that this really is a myth.
Today The Independent online published a list which included the CEOs of failing banks whose salaries and bonuses for 2007 ranged from well over two millions to £4.15 millions Two of these CEOs are reported to be resigning. Quite right too. But the nonsense goes on. It is alleged that, for example, Sir Fred Goodwin, the Chief Executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, can look forward to a pension of well over half a million pounds per year which, by my calculations, works out at around £1,600 PER DAY – or, if you want to get some perspective on these telephone number figures, this is equal to roughly 130 times the basic state pension. Why on earth does anyone need a pension of £1,600 per day?
It is absolute nonsense in my opinion to suggest that anyone, and I do mean ANYONE, can justify receiving a salary and bonus of £4.1 millions, amounting (in effect) to something in excess of £11,000 per day – for every day of the year. Surely the very acceptance of remuneration on anything like this level indicates nothing more or less than sheer greed and moral bankrupcy to an extent that ought to disqualify anyone from high office in any supposedly respectable organisation?