Jeremy Corbyn calls for 'high earnings cap' to reduce inequality

The Labour leader is due to give a major speech setting out his policy plan for post-Brexit Britain

Joe Watts
Political Editor
@JoeWatts_
Tuesday 10 January 2017 09:32
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Jeremy Corbyn calls for 'high earnings cap' to reduce inequality

Jeremy Corbyn has said the Government should explore a law limiting the maximum amount anyone in the UK can earn.

The Labour Leader said a "high earnings cap" would help prevent growing inequality, fund public services and prevent Britain from becoming a "bargain basement economy".

He said the idea, which he has previously mooted, would bring under control the inflated pay of top executives after research showed UK 'fat cats' earned more than the average £28,000 salary after just four days of 2017.

He spoke out ahead of a major speech in which he was intending to set out how his party would shape post-Brexit Britain.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said: "I would like there to be some kind of high earnings cap, quite honestly...I can't put a figure on it.

"The point I'm trying to make...is that we have the worst levels of income disparity of most of the OECD countries in this country. It's getting worse and corporate taxation is a part of it.

"If we want to live in a more egalitarian society and fund our public services we cannot go on creating worse levels of inequality."

Asked if there should be a law to limit income, he said: "Let's look at it...I've got a view on it, I'm not wedded to a figure....I would like to see a maximum earnings limit quite honestly because I think that would be a fairer thing to do.

"We cannot set ourselves up as being a sort of grossly unequal bargain basement economy on the shores of Europe, we have to be something that is more egalitarian gives opportunities to everybody and properly funds our public services."

The UK’s top bosses made more money by lunchtime on January 4 than the typical UK worker will earn all year according to an analysis that exposed pay disparity earlier this month.

The High Pay Centre calculated that the average FTSE 100 boss now earns more than £1,000 an hour, meaning they passed the UK average salary of £28,200 by around noon that day, dubbed 'Fat Cat Wednesday'.

When YouGov gauged support for a maximum wage of £1m in September 2015, 39 per cent supported it, while 44 per cent opposed.

Sam Bowman, Executive Director of the Adam Smith Institute, said this morning: "A maximum salary cap would be completely bananas and hurt British business and ultimately ordinary British workers.

"The strategic decisions that top bosses make affect every part of their firm, and multinational corporations are right to spend what it takes to attract the best business leaders to Britain."

Asked whether the Prime Minister would support a maximum wage cap, Theresa May's official spokeswoman told reporters that she had not yet seen "the details of what is actually being proposed".

She added: "The Prime Minister has been clear that this is a Government that is working to deliver an economy that works for everyone. Setting a wage cap is not a policy we are pursuing as part of that."

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