Them & Us

Mr Big

A £47 billion takeover bid by oil giant Shell for smaller rival BG Group will net ‘Norway’s Mr Oil’ – Helge Lund – a cool £25 million, for just two months’ work!

Lund, the former boss of Norwegian oil player Statoil, was appointed head of BG only in February. A minimum wage worker in Britain would have to work over 1,900 years to earn the equivalent of Mr Oil’s payoff.

US bonanza

$1,000,000,000,000 – the expected pay-out to US corporate shareholders in dividends and buybacks this year.

Shock findings

The growth of food banks is causally linked to welfare cuts. This no-brainer is now scientific fact after research from Oxford and Liverpool universities and the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Using data from 2006-7 to 2013-14, researchers found that in a local authority which made no budget cuts in the previous two years there was a one-in-eight chance of a food bank opening. But where there had been cuts then that likelihood increased to greater than one-in-two.

And contrary to Tory assertions that more food parcels are being handed out simply because there are more food banks, researchers instead found “an independent link between [benefit] sanctions or austerity and the number of emergency food assistance-seekers.”

Passing on wealth

Having cut the top rate on income tax and the rate of corporation tax to one of the lowest in the western world, the Tories have now pledged to reduce inheritance tax.

Currently, inheritance tax kicks in on properties worth £650,000 or more for couples. Under the Tories’ pledge the tax will only apply on estates worth more than £1 million.

As an earlier leaked Treasury document reported, raising the threshold would “most likely benefit high income and wealthier households”.


1,400% – return on investments made by buy-to-let property landlords in the UK since 1996.

Tax injustice

Ed Miliband has said that Labour, if elected, will target wealthy tax avoiders and evaders to realise an extra £7.5 billion a year for the public purse. But tax justice campaigners point out that this figure is just a fraction of the estimated £120 billion which goes missing in avoided, evaded and uncollected taxes mainly from the super-rich and giant corporations.