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Fat Cat Friday a national disgrace

January 4, 2019 4:54 PM

Fat CatWe've barely gone back to work and yet, on Friday 4th January, the average CEO of a FTSE 100 company has already made more money than the typical UK worker, earning just under £30,000.

And here in Devon, where the average wage is just over £24,000, it only took them two and a half days!

If ever there was a sign that our economy is broken this is it.

Some 14 million people in the UK now live in poverty - and the majority of them are in working households. Foodbank use rises relentlessly, even among those in full-time paid employment. Child poverty has increased at its fastest rate for three decades.

The minimum wage is not a living wage, and the inequality only gets worse.

In 1998 the ratio of chief executive pay to the average worker was 41:1. Today those executives earn 133 times more.

I believe it's time business started working, for everyone.

It's time those in the top echelons of pay and rewards realised that the person who answers the phone to new clients, the person who carefully packages up goods for shipping, the person who intricately welds a complex joint in a piece of machinery and the person who skillfully lays the bricks or fits the windows in a new home are all as important as the person who sits at the head of the boardroom table.

Without the skills and dedication of our UK workforce our companies wouldn't thrive and those CEOs wouldn't feature in the FTSE 100 listings.

I don't believe government should legislate on pay and I don't believe a mass re-nationalisation is the answer either.

But I do believe leaders in business and politics ought to set the tone of a new, much-needed national conversation about greed, need and the ethics of good business.

Our business leaders should aspire to see all of their workforce thriving. I'd like to see a world in which no chief executive believes they deserve to take home 133 times the average wage. I'd like to see a world in which they, too, find this obscene.

I'm not in the business of punishing the wealthy - but I do believe business, if done properly, can and should be a force for good. And I believe the Liberal Democrats can make that change happen.

Our policies on promoting employee ownership, strenghtening worker participation in decision making (including boardroom pay), promoting the living wage, ending zero hours contracts, extending transparency requirements on larger employers on pay levels and ratios and strengthening employment rights are just some of the ways we will change the way the UK does business.

Find out more here.