BAE Systems

Part of Backbench Business — [Un-allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 12:27 pm on 24th November 2011.

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Photo of David Davis David Davis Conservative, Haltemprice and Howden 12:27 pm, 24th November 2011

My hon. Friend, who has been very active in this campaign, brings me to the nub of the issue. It is precisely because the company had, until five years ago, experience in civil aviation; precisely because it is the biggest employer of engineers in the country; and because of its knowledge, access, contacts and understanding of the markets, that it is best equipped to find an alternative use for Brough—full stop. That is what I—and others, I am sure—demand. It is not just Brough; I keep saying Brough because it is closest to my heart, but the company must find alternative employment and use for the assets and the work force across the country. That is what it is best equipped to do. Frankly, as far as I can see, so far it has not lifted a finger in that direction.

There has been a lot of criticism in recent weeks of high levels of executive pay. Recently, the statistic came out that, over 30 years, senior executives have had a 4,000% increase in pay. Despite severe criticism of senior management by investors and others over the years, the pay of BAE’s chief executive grew by 8,000% over the same period, double the national average. I am not one of those who believe that people should not be paid large sums of money, but I expect them to earn it. They could perhaps justify their salaries—the chief executive’s is £2.4 million—by doing a better job not only for shareholders, but for employees and the country.