Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Widening inequalities

I think these two reports say a lot about the priorities of a New Labour Government that panders to big business.

Firstly fat cat pay :

A Barclays Bank executive earned £22m in salary, shares and bonuses last year, becoming the highest earner among firms in the FTSE 100 index.
The total pay for Bob Diamond, head of Barclays investment banking service, dwarfed chief executive John Varley's salary and bonus package.

Mr Diamond's basic salary was just £250,000 - with the rest made up of bonuses and cashed-in share options.

Barclays defended the pay, saying his division had been very successful.

Contrast with :

The number of children living in relative poverty in the UK rose by more than 100,000 last year, official figures have revealed.
The first increase in nearly a decade casts doubt on the government's target of halving child poverty by 2010.

In 2005-6, 3.8m children were in relative poverty - defined as homes on less than 60% of average income net of housing costs.

Children's charity Barnardo's chief called the figures "a moral disgrace".

With housing costs not taken into account, the number of children living below the relative poverty line was 2.8 million.

The figures represent an increase from 3.6 million and 2.7 million respectively in the previous year.

Since 1998/99, 600,000 children have been lifted out of relative poverty.

But to reach their stated targets, ministers must now help lift a further 1.1 million children above the poverty line by 2010 - or 1.6 million after housing costs are included.

Perhaps if Blair worried a little more about ordinary people's lives, and less being impressed by big business, then there might be some real commitment to eradicating poverty in the 21st Century.

Pic of a fattish cat !!