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Sunday, 29th April 2012

UK: The Case for Austerity Among the Rich

Source: Institute for Public Policy Research (UK)


Many people, no matter how well-off they are, think they are hard done by, or at least that they are deserving of their income and wealth. Beliefs such as this may have contributed to the cut in the 50p tax rate announced in the budget in March 2012.

In November 2011, the High Pay Commission reported that the pay of the chief executives of the 100 largest companies on the London stock exchange had risen by 49 per cent during the previous year, compared with average increases of less than 3 per cent for their employees. As 2012 began, each chief executive could, on average, expect to receive around £4.2 million, 145 times the average pay of their employees and some 162 times the British average wage.
Because pay distributions are almost always skewed, the majority of these chief executives will have received less than the average of £4.2 million, in some cases much less. If they only compare themselves with those they consider their peers, and don’t look down, they may well think they are badly-off and deserving of more. But if they ever did look down, they would see a different picture...

The rise in inequality during the Tony Blair years was rapid. As Blair came to power, the best-off one-thousandth (0.1 per cent) of the population received an income 61 times what the 90 per cent at the bottom received; by 2007 this ratio had risen to 95 times.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »



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