Them & Us

Who decides?

The High Pay Centre has answered a question we’ve been wondering about for a while – who decides to pay chief executives the outrageous amounts they get? The answer? They do. Of the current FTSE 100 chief executives, nine sit on remuneration committees of other big companies (those are the bodies that decides chief executives’ pay). And the rest of the committee tends to be largely made up of former company bosses too. It’s unsurprising that these people’s perspective is a little skewed when they’re part of the group with an average income of £4.2 million a year themselves.

Tax strike

One of the main arguments used by Osborne to justify scrapping the 50p tax rate was that it was hardly bringing in any money because of tax avoidance.

So, let’s get this straight: when its low-paid workers who make a policy unworkable through strike action, they’re accused of ‘holding the country to ransom’. But when it’s the rich who refuse to adhere to government policy, it’s taken as an obvious reason to scrap it. We wonder if the same attitude will be taken to the mass refusal to pay the new household tax in Ireland…

Preaching neoliberalism

George Osborne is such a helpful man. He’s flown all the way to India to make sure the Indian government doesn’t make a huge mistake. The Indian finance minister has recently proposed taxing all overseas deals going back 50 years.

Osborne said “We are concerned that the budget measure will not just impact one company like Vodafone but will damage the overall climate for investment in India”.

Not surprising really – remember when Osborne let Vodafone off £6 billion tax in 2010?

You scratch my back…

So now we all know that £250,000 can get you dinner with the prime minister. What can £10 million get you? An airport on an Atlantic island perhaps? One of the toffs revealed on the Cam Dine With Me list was Lord Ashcroft, one of the Tories’ biggest donors. Ashcroft has been supporting a campaign to use public funds to build an airport in St Helena since 2008.

And miraculously, he got his wish – costing £250 million from the UK overseas fund budget. Having had lunch at Chequers, the prime minister’s country house, six months previously is, of course, completely unrelated.


The Department for Work and Pensions has released new figures for unclaimed benefits. In 2010-2011 £12.3 billion went unclaimed by those entitled to it. Puts a bit of a dampener on claims of ‘scroungers’ out for everything they can get, doesn’t it.