Wages 'bright spot of UK economy'

Those earnings figures have pleased Tom Stevenson, investment director for Personal Investing at Fidelity International. He said:

Wages are still the bright spot of the UK economy. The murky outlook is leading businesses to hire now with the option to fire later rather than make irreversible investments in new kit. Perhaps it is still too soon to get ahead of ourselves, though - a week before new inflation data, there’s a question mark over how real the earnings growth is. Rising wages are bound in due course to feed through into wider price rises.

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More on the GVC pay

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Kenny Alexander's £19.1m for 2018 comes after £18.2m in 2017, again because of the bonus from that "legacy award" of shares to the GVC chief executive.

Without that bonus, the company said his pay would have been £2.7m.

His salary has been increased to £950,000, but the company - which owns Ladbrokes - said a smaller amount, £800,000, of this will be used to calculate his bonus payouts.

At last year's annual general meeting, 44% of investors voted against the pay policies.

"The board was naturally disappointed with the overall voting outcome," the company said in the annual report.

"We understand that ultimately a number of shareholders felt unable to support the [remuneration] report, primarily due to the value of awards vesting under legacy arrangements and transition arrangements put in place for our chairman," the company said.

It added that talks would take place with shareholders ahead of the upcoming AGM.

Ladbrokes-owner boss gets £19.1m

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Ladbrokes owner GVC has published its annual report.

Kenny Alexander, chief executive, received £19.1m - some £16.4m of which was from in "legacy awards", linked to the firm's acquisition of in 2016.

That legacy award paid out £8.1m to chairman Lee Feldman, to add to his £350,000 salary, taking his total to £8.5m.

The company acknowledged the sums were "high" but said this was because of the final payouts from the deal put in place at the time of the deal.

"The value of those awards reflects the value created for our shareholders since that time. 2018 is the last year in which those awards will vest and the single figure will be substantially lower in 2019," the company said.

The details are published after the directors sold almost £20m of shares in March, which sparked a fall in the company's shares.