Miliband: Workers should have say on bosses’ pay

Workers should help decide whether the pay packages of senior company executives “are deserved”, Ed Miliband said in a keynote speech to a leading think tank.

The Labour leader said employees should sit on remuneration committees deciding on the size of the payments handed to the executives of big firms.

Speaking to the Social Market Foundation in London, he said the move would spark “a revolution in transparency about pay for those at the top so shareholders and others can come to a view about what is justified”.

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He said: “This simple reform would help forge a new compact between workers and employers, building trust that salaries at the top are deserved, that long-term decisions are being made.”

Mr Miliband also used his speech yesterday to say the UK’s economic worries have reached a “turning point”, and urged ministers to change direction “for the sake of the country”.

The Labour leader added that it would be the “height of irresponsibility” for ministers to stick with their economic policies as conditions worsen.

He said that all the evidence showed the coalition’s policies were not working and a stimulus package, not continued austerity, was now required and that the government’s policies could see borrowing more than £100 billion above target by 2015.

Mr Miliband said: “Austerity at home, collective austerity abroad is no solution to the problems of jobs, growth or the deficit.

“Don’t believe those who will tell you that any change in course will make us like Greece. The markets are as worried about the lack of growth in the economy as they are about debt levels.

“Knowing what we know now, about our economy, about growth prospects, about unemployment, about higher-than-expected borrowing, it would be the height of irresponsibility for the government to carry on regardless. I urge David Cameron: change course now, change course for the sake of our young people, change course for the sake of the country.”

The Labour leader has called for an immediate stimulus package, including a cut in VAT and tax breaks for small firms recruiting new workers.

But in his speech, Mr Miliband also suggested that a future Labour government’s room for manoeuvre on spending would be constrained by the continuing need to deal with the deficit.

Mr Miliband said: “The failure of the government’s austerity plan meant that the next Labour government is likely to inherit a deficit that still needs to be reduced.

“So even then, resources will have to be focused significantly on paying down that deficit.”