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10 January 2018

Them & Us

How many billions of pounds did your asset portfolio appreciate by in the last year? Is it zero?

We knew it. You idiot! Instead of frittering your wages away on beans and rent you should be pumping it into financial speculation.

Here's what you could have won, compared to what you actually did...

You should have bought a bank. The Tories gave 4.4 billion to banks in tax breaks last year, according to Labour analysis. Banktastic!

Instead you bought a smaller chocolate orange. Last year Terry's shrank 10%, from 175g to 157g - for the same price. It's called 'shrinkflation', but it's more about shrinking your wallet than your waistline.

You should have worked less. The heads of top FTSE 100 firms earn 160 times the average wage of 28,200, according to last year's High Pay Centre analysis of 2016. At that rate you could afford to go home before you get out of bed!

Instead you worked too much. One in ten workers are officially "overemployed," working more hours than they want to, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Overwork is certainly more rife than that shows. Meanwhile a lot of us want more hours - or at least more secure hours.

You should have played the stock market. Last year the world's finance casinos gained $9 trillion in (fictitious) value, according to analysts at MSCI. Spiv-a-licious!

Instead you played the jobs market. On top of endemic overwork and underemployment, both employment and job vacancies have started to fall. Unemployment also fell - because the long-term jobless are giving up looking, as shown in ONS figures for the third quarter of 2017.

You should have been an oligarch. The world's richest 500 billionaires boosted their wealth by $1 trillion last year, according to Thomas Piketty's World Inequality Report. (See also letters, page 12.) Capital!

Instead you were a worker. Britain's 800,000 agency staff - that's four times the size of the army - are underpaid by 400 million a year, says the Resolution Foundation. And 4.6 million people in the UK are in "persistent poverty," according to the latest ONS figures for 2015.

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