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Business Briefing: Fat cats’ pay falls 16% but gap with low earners huge

BOSSES at top companies have seen their salaries shrink but their earnings still dwarf the pay of the average worker, a new report shows.

Chief executives of FTSE-100 firms took home an average of £4.654million last year, down from £5.7million in 2017, found CIPD and the High Pay Centre.

Despite the 16 per cent fall, their pay was about 160 times that of the average UK full-time worker, who makes £29,574.

CIPD, the association for human resources managers, warned that lucrative incentive schemes risked driving CEOs to focus on their firm’s share price at the expense of its long-term health. Its boss Peter Cheese added: ‘The gulf between the pay at the top and the bottom ends of companies is still unacceptably wide and undermines public trust in business.’

Former boss of Persimmon Jeff Fairburn (pictured) was paid £47million in 2017 and was forced to resign last November amid an outcry over the £75million bonus he received from the construction giant.

The new report says last year’s lower earnings may be a sign that firms are reining in high pay. But it says the fall may also be linked to a lull in payouts from long-term incentive plans. LTIPs were shown to be the largest component of executive remuneration.

Women made up six per cent of the 100 bosses but earned 4.2 per cent of the total £465.4million received, the report says. Luke Hildyard, of think tank the High Pay Centre, said more needed to be done ‘to give the public confidence that our biggest businesses are working for the good of the economy as a whole rather than the enrichment of a few’.

Experience Snowdon in store’s hi-trek pod

Preparation is snow joke: Two shoppers test outdoor gear in Decathlon’s microclimate pod PICTURE: SWNS

WALKERS can try out hiking up Mt Snowdon without leaving a sports store — by using its ‘microclimate pod’.

The booth simulates Wales’s tallest mountain, mimicking its temperature, sounds and even smells.

It lets shoppers put their climbing gear to the test ahead of the trek to the mountain’s 3,560ft peak.

Barclaycard partnered with sports chain Decathlon to create the pod for click-and-collect shoppers visiting the Surrey Quays store in south London until Friday.

Christian Baggaley, head of operations at Decathlon UK, said: ‘We have seen a real increase in the number of shoppers opting to use click-and-collect since 2017 and are constantly looking at ways to make the overall shopping experience better for our customers.’

The scheme to make click-and-collect shopping more ‘hands-on’ was launched as research from Barclaycard found £228million worth of goods go uncollected from stores every year.

Barclaycard’s Kirsty Morris said ‘enhancing the click-and-collect experience’ can help retailers ward off ‘challenges of the high street’.

Plan to raise pension age to 75 ‘is immoral’

RETRAINING people over the age of 50 to find jobs should be a greater priority than raising the pension age to 75, the former pensions minister Ros Altmann has said.

Baroness Altmann said a proposal by the Centre for Social Justice to increase the pension age to 70 by 2028, and then 75 by 2035, would be ‘an outrageous betrayal’ of hard-working people.

Writing in the Daily Mail, she said: ‘Forcing Britons to work until their mid-70s may help boost the economy by £182billion a year but, to me, the idea is chilling and immoral.’

Business Bites

■ UK TECH firms secured more foreign funding in the first seven months of this year than in the whole of 2018. They amassed a ‘staggering’ £5.5billion, shows research by Tech Nation and Dealroom.

■ SUPERMARKETS failed to beat their performance during last year’s hot World Cup summer, reporting flat grocery results for the 12 weeks to August 11. All of the ‘big four’ saw a dip in sales, Kantar figures show.

■ THE boss of Jack Wills has left the fashion retailer following its acquisition by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct earlier this month. Suzanne Harlow’s departure comes less than a year after she was appointed chief executive.

■ HUAWEI boss Ren Zhengfei says he doesn’t want relief from US sanctions even if China has to make tariff war concessions and makes his daughter’s legal fight against possible charges of violating US trade curbs harder.

■ MINING giant BHP has paid out record dividends after posting its largest annual profit for five years. Rising copper and iron ore prices fuelled the two per cent gain, swelling the coffers by £7.5billion.