Friday 27th September
It is almost agreed now amongst the different parties that in order to incentivise people to work they need to earn more by working than they would receive in benefits for not working. This is such common sense that it hardly needs stating. But the solution is not so easy. Rather than actually increase wages, the Tories answer is to reduce benefits to a level that is below that offered by employers, regardless of the financial circumstances of the unemployed person. In other words, it is for those individuals to so organize their lives as to be able to live on either a ridiculously low income, or even lower benefits. But many are trapped in private accommodation where landlords can and do charge as much rent as possible, they may have children to be fed and clothed, they may have debts to be repaid, they may have lost their job through no fault of their own. In short it is necessary to incentivise these already poor people to work by making life as difficult as possible for them, by paying them as little as they can get away with. Result: the unprecedented increase in food banks, rent arrears and pay-day loans.
At the other end of the scale there was public outrage at the level of banker’s bonuses a few years ago. They are still being paid, though at a maybe reduced level, and often in shares, or over a longer period. The EU has agreed, though the UK did not but couldn’t stop them, that bankers bonuses should be capped at one year’s salary (or if boards agreed two years salary). That’s right – you heard right. A bonus of one year’s salary!!!!! My God, only in the last few years have I ever received a bonus and that is £1000 before tax. Very grateful I am too. But the thought that I might get my whole salary (or double that even) paid as a bonus is simply ridiculous. And these bankers are well paid in the first place – they ‘ain’t earning £35k I can assure you. But it gets better. Our wonderful government who insist that we are all in it together, as well as incidentally giving these millionaires a 5% tax cut, are taking the EU to court to try to get the ‘cap’ deemed illegal. You see, in order to incentivise these people, who by the way brought our whole financial system tumbling down a few years ago and caused the recession and all that followed, it is absolutely necessary that NO limit is to be placed on their possibly pay at all.
In order to incentivise poor people you have to cut their pay, in order to incentivise those in the middle, say public sector workers, you have to freeze their pay, but in order to incentivise rich bankers we have to increase their pay. If you think my response smacks of CLASS WAR, then bring it on.