We had lots of replies suggesting Sir Terry Leahy – Head of Tesco’s, Bob Diamond head of Barclays as well as lots of other banking and big business answers.
They were all wrong and the right answer only came after some very serious prompting.
The reason why many were incorrect is that their companies, or in most cases employers, have moved their businesses outside of the UK.
But with the 50% tax band tacking effect and also the recession taking it’s toll people are definitely earning less.
It is not just the super-rich who are disappearing. Even the moderately may be slimming down. Delving through the Companies House records shows that three years ago, before the recession struck, more than 1,500 directors of British companies (not partnerships) were earning £1 million or more. Now, there are just 1,196 of them.
The highest-paid on the list today is Slowhand — yes, the guitarist Eric Clapton — with an £11.7 million salary last year. A few years back, it was media magnate Richard Desmond, who regularly clocked up salaries of £40 million-plus.
Much to the Treasury’s joy, Desmond took home a grand total of £199 million between 2000 and 2006, netting HMRC around £80 million. Since then, he has had to make do on just over £600,000 a year, signalling a much reduced revenue stream to help George Osborn’s calculations.