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August 17, 2009 4:17 PM

A senior Newcastle Liberal Democrat is backing calls for a new commission to curb excessive pay.

Ron Beadle, Parliamentary spokesman for Newcastle North, has joined the campaign for a High Pay Commission, to act as a watchdog over high City salaries.

More than 100 public figures have joined the centre-left Compass group's campaign called for steps such as maximum wage ratios and bonus taxes.

Mr Beadle, who lectures on pay and reward at Northumbria University, said: "In the current climate large bonuses to City bankers cannot be justified, particularly as many are owned or financially guaranteed by the tax payer.

"It is about time the Government took action to end the culture of big bonuses, especially to those bankers that caused the financial crisis in the first place."

The campaign compared the wage levels of the highly-remunerated to those of employees who worked a 40-hour week earning the minimum wage.

It argued someone earning the minimum wage would have to work for about 226 years to receive the same annual pay as a FTSE 100 boss.

"This isn't right. The gap between the richest and the poorest is getting bigger and bigger and action needs to be taken to reign in high pay," said Ron Beadle.

The campaign's backers include Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable and Labour MP Jon Cruddas, who argue that high levels of pay and bonuses led to the financial crisis.

The group urging for control over pay issued a joint statement, which said the "unjust rewards" of a few hundred "masters of the universe" exacerbated the risks to which the British economy was exposed.

The campaign said that in the same way that the Low Pay Commission was set up in 1997 to advise on the minimum wage, a High Pay Commission was needed to introduce "a wide-ranging review" of pay at the top and bring in new measures to curb excessive remuneration.