© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks on during a visit to the GS Kacyiru II school on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda June 23, 2022. Dan Kitwood/Pool via REUTERS
KIGALI (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ruled out lifting caps on banker bonuses days after his government said it was considering some relaxations on executive pay.
The government earlier this week said it was exploring whether it can lift some “unnecessary restrictions” around how non-executive directors were paid in shares to make it more appealing for businesses to be based in Britain.
However, Johnson told reporters the government would not go further in relaxing the rules for the finance industry, which is still unpopular among the public for causing the 2007-2009 global financial crisis.
“No, no, no, what we’re doing is supporting people up and down the country,” Johnson told reporters on his way to Rwanda when asked if he was considering relaxing the rules. “We’re not doing that”.
An EU-wide cap on bankers’ bonuses was introduced following the financial crash and it remains in place in Britain despite the country leaving the bloc.
With most Britons facing a sharp decline in disposable household income and inflation at the highest level in four decades, the government does not want to be seen to prioritise policy changes for the wealthy.
The opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer asked in parliament on Wednesday if the government was focused on pay cuts for working people or pay rises for executives and bankers.
Separately, Johnson told reporters the government plans to stick with plans to increase corporation tax next year after a report in The Times newspaper said he had questioned whether it should go ahead following a damaging confidence vote by his party.
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