Jeremy Corbyn has called for a maximum wage for the highest earners, saying he fears Brexit will see the UK become a “grossly unequal, bargain basement economy”.
The Labour leader would not give specific figures, but said radical action was needed to address inequality. “I would like there to be some kind of high earnings cap, quite honestly,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Tuesday.
When asked at what level the cap should be set, he replied: “I can’t put a figure on it and I don’t want to at the moment. The point I’m trying to make is that we have the worst levels of income disparity of most of the OECD countries.
“It is getting worse. And corporate taxation is a part of it. If we want to live in a more egalitarian society, and fund our public services, we cannot go on creating worse levels of inequality.”
Corbyn, who earns about £138,000 a year, later told Sky News he anticipated any maximum wage would be “somewhat higher than that”.
“I think the salaries paid to some footballers are simply ridiculous, some salaries to very high earning top executives are utterly ridiculous. Why would someone need to earn more than £50m a year?”
The Labour leader, who is an Arsenal fan, said he thought his team’s manager Arsène Wenger “would probably like it very much indeed, he’d probably like there to be a maximum wage cap on the whole of the Premier League”.
Corbyn said he believed taxpayers would ultimately benefit from job creation as a result of lower executive pay.
“They would have less of their enormous pay levels and more would go back into the company and our society as a whole,” he said. “Economic development does benefit the taxpayer because more people work and get jobs and pay taxes. It’s something we’re looking at and learning from others.”