Monday, 5 December 2011

Findings of High Pay Commission are "obscene"

My column in last week's Cornish Guardian addressed the finding of a report from the the High Pay Commission. It was as follows:

At this time of cuts, tax increases, wage restraint, and with the living standards of people under threat, a report from the High Pay Commission makes truly shocking reading.

The Commission undertook a year-long inquiry into the pay of top executives. It found that, over the last thirty years, the disparity between what top executives and average workers earn has been growing and growing.

It records that, in this period, the income of top earners had risen by more than 4,000%

Examples within the report included that of John Varley, the former Chief Executive of Barclays Bank.

It notes that in 1980, the top wage earner at Barclays received £87,323 – 13 times the UK average wage. But last year, Mr Varley pocketed a total of £4,365,636 in salary, benefits and bonuses – 169 times the wage of the average worker in Britain.

The report also records that the salary for the Chief Executive at Lloyds Bank has increased to more than £2.5m.

Launching the report, Chairperson of the High Pay Commission Deborah Hargreaves described the excessive salaries of executives as "corrosive" and damaging to the economy.

She rightly added: “The British people believe in fairness and, at a time of unparalleled austerity, one tiny section of society - the top 0.1% - continues to enjoy huge annual increases in pay awards.”

Another report has just recorded that pay for the directors of the UK's top businesses rose by a massive 50% over the past year.

I agree with those commentators who have branded the increases in executive pay as "obscene" and have condemned the City and big business, who appear to have learnt nothing following the financial troubles of the last four years.

They are still putting the best interests of the wealthy few ahead of the majority, and the increases are a disgrace and cannot be justified.

Millions of public sector workers recently went on strike, because of proposed changes to their pension schemes and working conditions.

Is it any wonder that these workers, as well as those in the private sector, are so angry when they are see such inequality growing across British Society, with many people on low incomes knowing they will have to live off a paltry pension in their retirement.

In my view, it is time that Cameron put fairness at the heart of his programme of government, took on the vested interests of ultra-wealthy and stood up for ordinary men and women in these difficult times.

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