James O'Brien blasts Ministers for boosting city fat cats' pay 'to show benefits of Brexit'

21 June 2022, 13:35

By James Bickerton

James O'Brien reacted with fury to reports Downing Street is seeing to reduce restrictions on city bosses' pay in a bid to "show overseas companies the benefits of Brexit".

According to a leaked letter, published by the i newspaper, Cabinet Office Minister Steve Barclay has written to Rishi Sunak "calling for deregulatory measures to reduce the overall burden on business" post-Brexit.

Specifically, this could involve removing restrictions on remunerations for directors and non-executive directors.

James responded with outrage to the suggestion, which came to light as rail workers strike during an intensifying cost-of-living crisis.

Speaking on his LBC show he said: "This is not a parody, this is news.

"Downing Street has asked ministers to ease restrictions on city bosses pay in a bid to show overseas companies the benefits of Brexit.

READ MORE: Furious commuters stranded and stations deserted as 'militant' RMT holds crippling strike

"The Prime Minister's chief-of-staff and cabinet minister - Steve Barclay - has written to the Chancellor with a plan to let the highest paid people in the country earn more.

"If it had come out six months ago then perhaps we wouldn't feel as bruised by this revelation as perhaps you do.

"As the railway workers are being demonised from here to kingdom come by the Government, which has refused to try to do anything to stop this strike, they are actually planning to make it easier for the people who earn the most amount of money in this country to earn even more."

Speaking to The Independent, a spokesperson from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “As announced last month, we are looking to strengthen the rules on clawing back bonuses from directors if their company collapses to stamp out ‘rewards for failure’.

"By the same token, we are also exploring whether there are any unnecessary restrictions on paying non-executive directors in shares, which could ensure they are fully invested in the success of the company they run. If the company does well, directors do well.”

READ MORE: PM warns commuters must 'stay the course' despite 'unnecessary aggravation' of strikes