Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

I'd like more egalitarian society with maximum earnings limit, says Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn has called for a cap on pay for top earners in order to create a more equal society.

The Labour leader refused to be drawn on the level of the cap, but he said action was needed to counter the growing levels of income disparity in the UK.

He said he did not want to see Britain become a "bargain-basement economy" on the fringes of Europe in the wake of the vote for Brexit.

"I would like there to be some kind of high earnings cap, quite honestly. I can't put a figure on it and I don't want to," he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

"We have worse levels of income disparity than most of the OECD countries in this country. It is getting worse.

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

"I would to 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 real opportunities to everybody, and properly funds our public services."

Mr Corbyn said a pay cap would be "somewhat higher" than the £138,000 he earns as an MP and Leader of the Opposition.

He told Sky News: "I think it would be somewhat higher than that. I am not going to put a figure on it. What I am going to say is that we are looking at this issue of the disparity of pay within big companies and organisations and do something to try and close that gap."

The Labour leader took a swipe at the wages paid to footballers, saying: " I think, certainly, the salaries that are paid to some footballers are simply ridiculous. I think some of the salaries paid to very high-earning top executives of companies are utterly ridiculous."

Mr Corbyn, an Arsenal fan, said the team's manager would welcome a pay cap on soccer players.

"Arsene Wenger is a man who is an accountant at heart, and I think he would probably like it very much indeed . He would probably like there to be a maximum wage cap on the whole of the P remiership."

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."

Shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams said Mr Corbyn's pay cap comment was not policy and repeatedly sidestepped questions over whether she would support such a move.

She told BBC Radio 4's World At One programme: "It isn't a policy. He said in the context of policy development, he said it should be something we looked at and of course we should look at it.

"But everything we do finally say is policy-driven should be based on evidence and I know that Jeremy is committed to that as well."

Danny Blanchflower, a f ormer adviser to Mr Corbyn and ex-Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member, tweeted: " Corbyn calls for max wage law if I was still an adviser I would have told him it's a totally idiotic unworkable idea.

" Corbyn max wage lunatic idea would generate a huge brain drain as smart people move abroad shows how out of touch he is."

Academic Richard Murphy, who advised Mr Corbyn during his leadership bid, said the proposal was "incoherent".

He told World At One: "It doesn't make any economic sense at all. You cannot impose such a cap.

"Jeremy needs to sit down and get some proper advice. Whoever is advising him now is not giving the right advice or Jeremy isn't simply asking them before making these comments."


From Belfast Telegraph