If You Can Forego £1M, Maybe You’re Paid Too Much

News that Ross McEwan, head of loss-making RBS and presumably Britain’s highest paid civil servant, has foregone his £1M “allowance” (or bonus to you and me) could be seen as reflective of a new mood of restraint in the City. This would be extremely optimistic, particularly when we learned this week that financial sector bonuses topped £100 billion since the the financial crash of 2008 when, frankly, performance has hardly been stellar. 

The real lesson here is that many of those heading up our banks are still living in a bubble. Mr McEwan’s pay package actually compares quite unfavourably with his peer group. But this highlights how the remuneration of those leading our banks is so wildly out of all proportion to the rest of us. That’s what matters. It is this fact which promotes our extreme levels of inequality which, as we all know, corrodes our society

In a depressing sort of symmetry, we also learned this week that 700,000 people in the UK have zero hours contracts as their main job. So while the top of the pay scale continues in rude health, the pay floor in the UK continues to crumble. Some are now predicting that we are laying the foundations for a surge in our already high levels of inequality to even worse levels in the not too distant future

The good news is that there’s plenty you can do if all this makes you angry or frustrated. You can join or form a local equality group in your area, you can take action around the upcoming election (just contact us at info@equalitytrust.org.uk for our election action pack) or if you are time-pressed, you can support our work financially. A better and more equal UK will not be given to us. We have to demand it.

Bill Kerry, Supporters & Local Groups Manager