Vince Cable retracts One Direction earnings 'attack'

One Direction The band was named in the Sunday Times 2013 Rich List

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Business Secretary Vince Cable has explained his "attack" on boy band One Direction's earnings.

While unveiling government plans to raise the minimum wage, he said the band's income was "grossly immoral".

The Liberal Democrat said he agreed it was "mad" that members of the band earned £5m each last year.

But he later told Sky News he was referring to unjustified chief executives' pay and his aides said he had "misheard" the question.

"I don't want to attack One Direction, this is one particular group who are apparently very popular and very successful so I have nothing against them," Mr Cable said.

"But there is a general issue of chief execs in particular who are paid well beyond what can be justified in terms of the performance of their companies, and that's something the government is now trying to address," he added.

Mr Cable announced the plans to increase minimum wage by 12p an hour at a news conference in central London on Monday.

Vince Cable Vince Cable is keen to "address" the salaries of chief executives

Speaking to journalists at the event, the head of the Institute of Directors, Simon Walker, said: "I think it was mad that members of boy band One Direction made £5m each last year."

When Mr Cable was asked if he agreed with Mr Walker he replied: "I agree with much of what was said... much of it is downright insensitive and grossly immoral."

Former X Factor contestants Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne featured in the top 15 wealthiest British music artists under the age of 30 in Sunday Times 2013 Rich List.

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