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Weekly Earnings

Volume 974: debated on Wednesday 21 November 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment what percentage increase in the average net weekly earnings of manual and non-manual workers in Great Britain would be necessary to raise them to the average net weekly earnings of (a) the highest paid director among the United Kingdom's top 100 companies, (b) a field marshal in the Army and (c) the members of the EEC Commission; and what are the total numbers of directors to the 100 top companies, field marshals, in the Army and members of the EEC Commission.

Figures on the basis set out in the notes below are as follows:

Percentage increase to bring the average net (1) weekly earnings of (a) manual and (b) non-manual employees to the corresponding earnings of:
The highest paid director (2)3,0302,551
A field marshal of the Army (3)350281
A member of the European Commission (4)684564


(1) Net earnings will of course depend on the personal circumstances of an individual. For the purpose of these calculations it has been assumed that gross earnings are reduced in respect of national insurance contributions for a person not contracted out of the national insurance pension scheme, and in respect of 1979–80 tax rates and allowances applicable to a married man.

Average gross weekly earnings of full-time men whose pay was not affected by absence in April 1979 were £93 and £113 for manual and non-manual employees respectively (New Earnings Survey).

(2) Based on gross earnings of £272,672 per annum shown in the Guinness Book of Records.

(3) Based on basic full-time salary, before allowances, as at 1 April 1979 of £27,936 per annum.

(4) Based on basic salary, excluding entertainment allowances, and so on, of 255,864 Belgian francs—approximately £4,870—per month as at December 1978 (European Committees Commission Information Office).

The top 100 companies have about 1,400 directors. There are no active field marshals on full pay, although seven who are retired receive half pay. Excluding the president and four vice-presidents who receive a higher salary than an ordinary member, there are eight members of the European Commission.