Interesting report by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) at the end of last month showing that overall pay growth for workers in the UK has hit a record low. The number of people being paid less than the minimum wage of £6.08 has risen, and there was a big difference in earnings between London and the rest of the country.
Organisations such as the TUC were quick to point out that pay was up just 0.4% on a year ago in terms of gross weekly earnings, meaning that incomes are tumbling in real terms given that inflation stands at 5%.
"The UK cannot build a sustainable economic recovery on the back of people getting poorer," TUC general secretary Brendan Barber apparently commented. Good point. But not everybody is getting poorer. In the same week, the High Pay Commission’s report showed that in complete contrast executive pay had risen sharply. Oh? And that the salary of the head of Barclays bank had increased nearly 5,000% in 30 years, while average wages have increased just threefold. Oh!!
There are various observations to be made here apart from the obvious one that the head of Barclays might make me a good husband! (just kidding Mr Boulton...). But might I suggest that he, along with his similarly enriched banking executive colleagues, take a long, winding journey in their super duper gas-guzzling limousines to visit all the petrol retailing forecourts in the UK (and help prop up the economy while they’re about it!). Then they might observe the problems they are causing to hardworking independents, by not extending loan terms, pulling the plug on existing overdraft facilities, high interest rates, and generally creating cashflow difficulties which drain the lifeblood out of the very businesses they and the rest of the country need to continue to make the world go round. Maybe then they would be worth the huge sums they appear to be earning. Times are tough, but clearly not for everyone! Season’s greetings to you all.