Company bosses who put workers’ pensions at risk to “line their own pockets” will face huge fines under plans unveiled by Theresa May.
The Prime Minister said tough new rules would be introduced to end the “unacceptable abuse” by irresponsible business chiefs following the collapse of Carillion.
The construction and outsourcing giant – which employs 43,000 people – was left mired in £1.3bn of debt and saddled with a £600m pensions deficit after going into liquidation this week.
Thousands of suppliers and subcontractors owed money have been left in limbo and seen work paused on building sites, prompting anger over pay awards enjoyed by the firm’s bosses.
Writing in the Observer, Mrs May said top executives had too often reaped “big bonuses for recklessly putting short-term profit ahead of long-term success”.
“In the spring, we will set out new tough new rules for executives who try to line their own pockets by putting their workers’ pensions at risk – an unacceptable abuse that we will end,” she wrote.
“By this time next year, all listed companies will have to reveal the pay between bosses and workers.
“Companies will also have to explain how they take into account their employees’ interests at board level, giving unscrupulous employers nowhere to hide.”
Image: There has been anger over the pay awards enjoyed by Carillion bosses
Addressing Carillion’s collapse, Mrs May said the state had a “role to play” when companies fail but “not by bailing out the directors with a blank cheque”.
“It will be the shareholders of Carillion, not taxpayers, who pay the price for the company’s collapse,” she wrote.
A task force involving businesses and trade unions has been set up to support companies and workers affected by Carillion’s collapse.
Mrs May’s latest remarks come after a Tory former minister accused her of timidity and a lack of ambition in a devastating attack on her leadership.
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Nick Boles warned the PM it was “time to raise your game” and claimed her government “constantly disappoints”.
He tweeted: “There is a timidity and lack of ambition about Mrs May’s Government which means it constantly disappoints. Time to raise your game, Prime Minister. #worboys #HousingCrisis #NHSfunding #etcetc”.