An inquiry into the pay of public sector workers, including NHS managers, has been ordered by Prime Minister David Cameron in an attempt to improve fairness.
Left-leaning economist Will Hutton, who is vice chair of The Work Foundation and a former editor of the Observer, has been appointed to lead the pay review.
Mr Cameron told BBC1's Andrew Marr show: "The idea is to improve fairness in the public sector and say that, between the lowest paid and highest paid in the public sector, there shouldn't be a difference of more than 20 times.
"In any organisation in the public sector, the highest paid shouldn't be paid more than 20 times the lowest paid. It may mean lifting the lowest paid, it may mean reducing the pay of the highest paid, but it will make our country and our public services fairer."
The BBC will be excluded from the review, but senior Whitehall mandarins and NHS managers will be included, Mr Cameron said.
Mr Hutton's work was previously used to shape the policies of Tony Blair's Labour government. Mr Cameron has also consulted Labour MP Frank Field about poverty, signalling a desire to extend his government outside of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.
"This is a really good move. I have always liked Will Hutton. He has always made sense. I hope this will be the first of many reviews of all aspects of government and related issues" – Colin Gale, Aberdeenshire