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PM May seeks to tighten government grip on corporate Britain

Reuters  |  HALIFAX, England 

HALIFAX, (Reuters) - Prime Minister vowed to make it harder for foreign companies to take over British firms and threatened to clamp down on soaring executive pay as she set out plans for the to take greater say in the running of Plc.

Outlining her ConServative party's proposals on Thursday ahead of June 8 election, May also said she would ensure any foreign group buying British infrastructure in the telecoms, defence and energy sectors did not undermine security or essential services.

Marking departure from the free market ethos pursued by the Conservatives for decades, May said governments had role to play in overseeing how companies were run.

"We believe people should be rewarded for their talents and efforts but the public is rightly affronted by the remuneration of some corporate leaders," the Conservative Party said in its policy document.

Under the plan, executive pay packages would be subject to strict annual shareholder votes and listed companies would have to publish the ratio of executive pay to broader workforce pay.

The Conservatives said companies seeking to buy British businesses would also have to be clear about their intentions from the outset of the bid process and all promises made in the course of takeover should be legally binding.

The would also gain the power to pause the process to allow greater scrutiny.

Britain, the world's fifth largest economy, has attracted more foreign investment in Europe than any other country, with international companies playing major role in every sector including banks, transport, energy, telecoms and retail.

May, who became prime minister shortly after voted to leave the EU in June last year, had already indicated that she wanted to clamp down on excessive pay and foreign takeovers that led to job losses and threatened the rights of workers.

She also set out on Thursday plans to give workers voice on company boards, either through nominated director from the workforce, the creation of an employee advisory council or designated non-executive director.

(Reporting by William James, writing by Paul Sandle, editing by James Davey and Michael Holden)

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