Rooney worth big salary, says Balls

Manchester United star Wayne Rooney's reported £300,000 a week should not be controlled as his talent attracts the high salary, shadow chancellor Ed Balls has suggested.

Ed Balls has suggested Manchester United star Wayne Rooney's reported £300,000 a week salary should not be controlled
Ed Balls has suggested Manchester United star Wayne Rooney's reported £300,000 a week salary should not be controlled

Mr Balls said in the footballer's case it was perhaps "genuinely the talent getting the pay" as there is "only one Wayne Rooney" who could go anywhere in the world.

But massive multimillion-pound salaries in some parts of the economy feel "like a bit of a Ponzi scheme" when the pay is not because of a great idea - such as the iPhone - or "when it's not the talent of Wayne Rooney", the Labour front-bencher said.

Mr Balls made the remarks after he was questioned about Business Secretary Vince Cable's view that he did not understand " why people need a million quid a year".

Mr Cable told the Observer : " I've asked one or two of the more sympathetic bankers to explain it to me.

"The response has been: 'It's not that I need the money, it is because others get it so I should, too'. That is a ludicrous mindset. What on earth do these people think they are doing?"

Asked if he was relaxed about people earning £1 million a year, Mr Balls said people would see it as a "jarring thing compared to the reality of our lives".

He told BBC Radio 5 Live's Pienaar's Politics: " Wayne Rooney now gets paid more a week than all of us probably, certainly me, get paid a year.

"On the other hand... I guess there's only one Wayne Rooney and he plays for Manchester United, he could go anywhere in the world and maybe that's genuinely the talent getting pay.

"And somebody who has a great idea - like Steve Jobs, who invents an iPhone and it gets sold all around the world - in the end you can't say we're going to cut if off at some point.

"On the other hand you've got all these bankers, and here Vince is right, getting paid - the guy from the Co-op before he stood down had a £3.5 million salary (chief executive Euan Sutherland) - and when they get asked why they get paid millions of pounds they say, 'Well because everybody else does and therefore we have to too'.

"And at that point I think maybe people should say let's stop this merry-go-round going round and let's get back to a bit of rationality.

"And so I think in some parts of our economy - when it's not a great idea or when it's not the talent of Wayne Rooney - then you do think to yourself these massive multimillion-pound salaries, it feels like a bit of a Ponzi scheme.

"If somebody actually was to say stop a minute , let's stand back and say is this really sensible and rational, most of those people would do those jobs for half the money."