Sunday, 7 August 2016

Observer letter on honours

In addition to the five suggestions to help the prime minister "tackle corporate irresponsibility", one obvious and topical idea would be to ensure no honours whatsoever are dished out to people responsible for any action by their firms, which are deemed socially unacceptable (Five ways to ensure "capitalism works for all, not just the few, 31/07/16). This would include such things as avoiding tax, offsetting higher wages with job losses or reduced hours, and failing to reduce the "gender gap".     
      A change of name from the "High Pay Centre" to one based on Fair Pay would do no harm, and neither would looking back to the responses of Franklin Roosevelt, who, like our current leaders, encountered "resistance from business groups wary of sweeping regulations". His answer was to award "Blue Eagles" to companies whose business practices benefited the country; they could then be used in all advertising, so that consumers would know where best to spend or invest. Awards in this country could be given for paying fair share of tax, fair treatment of all employees, regardless of position, race or gender, acknowledgement of rights of trade unions, and sensible investment in technology to boost productivity. Differing coloured stars could indicate the reason for the award. Transparency could further be encouraged by printing the pay ratio between CEO and the average worker on the actual award. 
 Finally, keeping RBS under state ownership would allow it to become a National Bank, whose raison d`etre was not to maximise profits at all costs, but to exist for the benefit of us all!

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