Caps on excessive salaries should be introduced to save whole industries and redistribute wealth as coronavirus restrictions and changing habits cause large swathes of the economy to shut down, a progressive thinktank has urged.
In a landmark report, Autonomy highlighted the fact that incomes in the UK are the ninth most unequal of the 40 most developed countries, and called for the government to ensure existing resources were better managed to create a fairer economy amid growing poverty. The Bank of England predicts that unemployment will double to 2.5 million people by the end of this year.
A majority of the public – 54% – would support plans for a government-mandated maximum wage, a poll of more than 1,000 people by Survation suggested. Nearly 70% would support wage cap limits at either £100,000, £200,000 or £300,000.
Companies could afford to raise the incomes of 9 million low- and middle-waged workers if wages were capped for the top 1% of earners, who take home more than £160,000 a year, the report says.
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A minimum wage of £10.50 an hour could be implemented if a salary cap of £187,000 was introduced, it calculated. The “national living wage” – the UK’s minimum wage – is £8.72 an hour for those aged 25 and over.
In the arts, entertainment and recreation industries, hard-hit by Covid measures, the top percentiles earn vastly more than the bottom 95%. To provide every worker with a wage of £11 an hour, only 0.64% of earners – 2,000