The Chancellor asks for a pay cut

The Chancellor makes a habit of clumsy speeches. In the great tradition of telling the banks they had been badly run and would not be bailed out just a few days before he guaranteed the deposits of any bank in trouble, yesterday he popped up again and says the City is paying people too much for poor performance. He would like to see their pay cut.

For once I will agree with him. I think if someone presided over a large organisation which lost all the personal details of half its customers, the boss’s pay should be cut. If someone presided over the first bank run in more than a hundred years, their pay should be cut. If someone rushed out press threats to tax Non Doms more, only to have to withdraw some of the proposals because they were too damaging, his pay should be reduced. If someone decided to increase capital gains tax by 80% for entrepreneurs, and then had to climb down on part of that proposal, we should look at how much they were being paid.

Can anyone think of someone on high pay who might fall into any of these categories? And what should happen to the pay of someone in the unlikely event that they managed to do all four? Should he be paying us to carry on in the job?

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  1. Stuart Fairney
    Posted February 16, 2008 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Darling is surely the ultimate "dead man walking" in political terms. Only Brown's unwillingness to concede his appointment was a disaster is currently saving him, but you have to believe at the first re-shuffle….

  2. Ian Evans
    Posted February 16, 2008 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    I have to say that, for once, I totally disagree with you! Someone in such a position should not have a pay cut – he should get the sack.

  3. David
    Posted February 16, 2008 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I would have thought that extending the idea of performance-related pay to even one member of the Palace of Westminister was a very dangerous one, given the huge difference in how much they work for their constituents.

    Someone will suggest that they should be paid sensible and equitable allowances next – and that would never do!

  4. Cliff
    Posted February 16, 2008 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    It is not just the city paying too much for poor performance, we the public are paying too much for poor performance in government.
    The tax take of this government is at an all time high and competence levels within government seem to be at an all time low.
    I cannot remember a time when faith in the government was so low and yet, our party does not have a massive lead in the opinion polls, we should be fifteen or twenty percent ahead but we are not. I wonder why this is.

  5. Dave Clemo
    Posted February 16, 2008 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Whatever happened to performance related pay?

    It's easier to spend other people's money than your own

    It's easy to pass laws when you don't have to live with the consequences.

  6. Andrew Duffin
    Posted February 16, 2008 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Since Westminster Parliamentarians have agreed that 80% of their function can be outsourced to Brussels, I suggest they should now be paid 20% of whatever they got before that happened.

    This should serve to concentrate their minds wonderfully, as they now contemplate handing over all their remaining powers to the same foreign entity.

    No sovereignty = No pay.

    How could anyone argue?

  7. NotaSheep
    Posted February 16, 2008 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    As I said earlier today, not having seen your article yet:

    Just remind me Alistair Darling, what is your salary? What about your expense allowance? How much will you get to soften the blow when you leave Parliament? How large a pension will you be entitled to and how much will you have contributed to that pension pot by the time you retire?

    To be honest I don't think that a man who was made Chancellor because he could be no threat to the former Chancellor either intellectually or politically, whose lack of ability has been clear to all over Northern Rock, taxing Non Doms and economic forecasting, is in any position to criticise people who are competent, intelligent and hard working. Alistair Darling, you are a weak and ineffectual politician who like most of this Labour cabinet, including the Prime Minister, have been promoted way above the level of your abilities. As the economy crashes and burns around your eyebrows and the population realise that you and your Labour colleagues have screwed up this country's economy beyond what even I in 1997 believed was possible; then one of the few pleasures that will be left to many of us will be watching the verdict on this government be delivered by the people…

  8. David Hannah
    Posted February 16, 2008 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Andrew Duffin, chance would be a fine thing, wouldn

  9. Andy B
    Posted February 18, 2008 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    This article is very divisive.

    Its tone from start to finish suggests that people should be discriminated according to their 'performance'.

    I would have hoped that the last 10 years had wiped away all attempts by people to use someone's disabilities (e.g. the inability to do one's job) as a stick to beat them with.

    Apparently not. Whatever next? Awards for people coming top? Trophies for the person who runs fastest? People being sacked for not doing their job properly?

    This is the thin end of a very unpleasant wedge. We should all applaud the actions of a government which puts employment equality at the heart of their policymaking.

    We must not discriminate against people who are useless! They are human too, and they have just as much right to screw up the country as the next person.


  10. James
    Posted February 19, 2008 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    A nice idea, but I rather think that HE would end up paying US…

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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