Vicars in the boardroom to check pay

CLERGY from St Paul’s want to go into City boardrooms to lobby directors about the gap between the rich and the poor.

The Right Rev Peter Selby said he wanted to use the publication of a report – delayed because of the furore over the Occupy LSX protests – to debate “appropriate” levels of pay with chief executives.

He was speaking as the survey said the majority of City professionals think bankers, stockbrokers, bond traders and FTSE 100 chief executives are paid too much.

Asked if it meant clergy would enter boardrooms to ensure recommendations of the St Paul’s Institute report are acted on, Selby said: “It gives us something of a mandate... It gives us cause, along with everything which is going on, to take this situation to higher levels and say, ‘what are you going to do about it?’”

The church’s institutional complicity in finance had made it a difficult topic to address in the past, added Selby, a retired bishop.

The report, Value and Values: Perceptions of Ethics in the City Today, includes contributions by St Paul’s former Dean, the Right Rev Graeme Knowles, and former Canon Chancellor, Rev Dr Giles Fraser, who both resigned amid disagreements over the response to the protests.

The study showed 75 per cent of City workers think there is too great a gap between rich and poor and nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of those questioned said salary and bonuses are their main motivation.

The survey, carried out before the protests began, involved 515 interviews and was carried out to mark the 25th anniversary of the deregulation of the City. Just over half of people said the Big Bang had led to less ethical behaviour.

Last night Occupy LSX said the report showed a “conflict” between morality and financial incentives. St Paul’s has asked the activists to prepare several written responses.