The fact that more than 3,500 UK-based bankers earn over €1m, at a time when callous austerity policies are still causing hardship and the numbers of homeless and food bank users increase daily, is appalling (Thousands of UK bankers paid €1m-plus a year, report reveals, 12 March). With their average pay over €2m, “skewed by huge payouts at the top”, it is clear nothing has been done since the 2008-09 crash, either to remedy the obscene payments or create a “socially useful banking industry”, largely because the Tory governments have obviously been quite happy with the situation.
Relying on the highly-paid’s sense of fairness, or even on their embarrassment, doesn’t have any effect, so an obvious solution is to raise taxation. Labour has promised to increase top income tax levels for those earning over £123,000 to 50%, but this will only encourage bankers and their ilk to demand more. As a temporary measure, to prevent inequality increasing further, perhaps taxes are in need of further incremental increases, reaching 95% when income goes over £1m, and 100% over £2m? The right-wing’s invention, the Laffer Curve, no longer has economists’ support, while the ideas that high taxes both decrease aspiration, and encourage the rich to emigrate, are Tory party propaganda.