POLITICS

Jeremy Corbyn Abandons Maximum Pay Cap The Same Day As Suggesting It

10/01/2017 17:09
Leon Neal via Getty Images

Jeremy Corbyn ditched his support for a maximum wage cap on Tuesday afternoon, just hours after first announcing it.

This morning in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the Labour leader floated the idea of placing a limit on what people could earn in order to reduce inequality in society.

However speaking in Peterborough this afternoon, Corbyn said instead he thought it would be “better” to legislate to control the ratio of how much bosses could earn compared to their staff.

It was the second change in policy in one day - a day that had been billed as a relaunch of Corbyn as a leftwing populist.

Corbyn also appeared to backtrack on abandoning his commitment to EU free movement of people. 

This morning the Labour leader said he “would like there to be some sort of high earnings cap”.

“I would like to see a maximum earnings limit, quite honestly, because I think that would be a fairer thing to do.”

However the policy was dismissed as “unworkable” by economist Danny Blanchflower, who had served as an advisor to the Labour Party under Corbyn.

When he delivered a speech this afternoon, Corbyn said backed away from the idea of a national cap and said it would “probably better to look at ratio issue”.

“20 years ago the top bosses of the FTSE 100 companies earned just under 50 times their average worker, today that figure is now 130 times. Last year alone, the top bosses got a 10 per cent pay rise, far higher than those doing the work in the shops, in the call centres, in the warehouses,” he said.

“Another advocate of pay ratios was David Cameron. His government proposed a 20:1 pay ratio to limit sky-high pay in the public sector and now all salaries higher than £150,000 must be signed off by the Cabinet Office.

“Labour will go further and extend that to any company that is awarded a government contract.

“A 20:1 ratio means someone earning the living wage, just over £16,000 a year, would permit an executive to be earning nearly £350,000. It cannot be right that if companies are getting public money that that can be creamed off by a few at the top.”

Corbyn did win praise from former Labour leader Ed Miliband, who said his successor was right to focus on the issue of pay ratios.

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