Skip to main content

Cable And Wireless

Volume 933: debated on Monday 13 June 1977

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he will make a further statement about the remuneration of the directors of Cable and Wireless.

I have nothing to add to the answer I gave the hon. Member on 25th April.

Will the Minister pay tribute to Cable and Wireless, which made a profit of £28 million in 1975 and a substantially greater profit in 1976? Following the resignation of the managing director, Mr. Willett, and since the salaries of senior officials now substantially exceed the salaries of directors, will the Minister urgently direct his attention to the matter of directors' salaries?

I paid tribute to the achievement of Cable and Wireless on 25th April and I do so again. The problems of the company have been aired by the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Gow) on several occasions. However, he does the company and its achievements no credit by the comments that he continually makes about the company. That was especially so when he introduced his denationalisation Bill for Cable and Wireless. I can say only that the whole matter of the salaries of the board of Cable and Wireless must be considered in relation to the salaries of the members of the boards of nationalised industries and that that is all part of the wider question of salaries in the next round of the pay policy.

I should be grateful if the hon. Gentleman would be kind enough to raise his point of order at the end of Questions.

In addition to worrying about the rates of pay in nationalised industries, will my hon. Friend take the trouble to investigate the disgracefully low wages of office cleaners employed in the headquarters of nationalised industries? Does he realise that they are given disgustingly low rates of pay to clear up all the rubbish?

My hon. Friend has brought to the attention of the House something that has been brought to the attention of hon. Members. I know that there is a great deal of sympathy for the point of view he has expressed, and I hope that he will raise the matter in the appropriate quarters.

If the directors of Cable and Wireless are underpaid or suffering, will the Minister suggest that they should stand for direct election to the European Parliament?

We all recognise those sentiments and the track record of the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten) on this matter. As far as I am aware—although I have not yet seen any specific details—there is nothing that would preclude them from standing for election.