Chancellor 'considering relaxing disclosure rules for top City earners'

Chancellor George Osborne is looking at watering down rules that would have forced banks to disclose huge pay deals for top City workers, it was reported today.

Mr Osborne is rethinking proposals put forward by Sir David Walker last year to clamp down on the excessive pay culture seen in the run-up to the financial crisis, according to The Sunday Times.

Sir David’s reforms would have ensured banks revealed how many employees were paid more than £1m (€1.19m) and provide a breakdown of their multi-million pound earners into “pay bands”.

But it is thought that heavy lobbying from the banking sector has prompted the Chancellor to consider scrapping the plans in favour of less onerous regulations.

The news comes amid concerns over an exodus of banks from the UK, with recent reports suggesting HSBC is threatening to leave Britain if the Government moves to break up banks.

Banks have been pushing for less stringent disclosure rules as they claim the current plans would make it possible to identify traders and those earning the most, while also encouraging wage inflation as traders see how much peers are earning.

There is also believed to be wiggle room in the reforms, with only part of the Financial Services Act passed in the last Parliament and no specific detail on pay disclosure included.

But any decision to soften Sir David’s reforms would lead to accusations the banking sector is being allowed to revert to its pre-crisis ways.

Fears have already been raised by news last week that Credit Suisse handed out mammoth mid-year bonuses.

The Treasury was not immediately available for comment.

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