The great pay debate: Business leaders, and footballers come under fire for being “over paid”

9th June 2011

More than 60% of Britons would like the government, business and unions to do more to make pay fairer, both in the public and private sectors.

The Institute for Public Policy Research's (IPPR) report – in which the findings appear – was published in the same week that Tesco scrapped its share option scheme and cut the pay of its new chief executive and at the same time Marks and Spencer's boss Mark Bolland embarks on a review of the pay of the retailer's executive staff.

The Guardian website's coverage of the story notes that executive bonses and pay in the financial sector is behind much of the massive increase in executive pay over the past 30 years.

It says: "Large bonuses have been paid to a small number of top earners, yet ordinary workers often see no extra money when their organisation is doing well. The poll to be published next week shows that half of survey respondents think bonuses should be awarded on an organisational or team basis, with only a quarter supporting bonuses primarily linked to individual performance."

When asked what the salary of a chief executive of a large national company should be, the average was £350,579, compared to actual average earnings of £1m.

Of 2,337 people who took part in the research, most felt that lower paid workers should earn more. Office cleaners – who earn around £14,000 – should get a 19% pay rise, prison officers (average £26,800) should have a 20% pay rise and painters and decorators (£22,300) should get 12% more.

One area where salaries are under increasing scruitiny is English football. Although arguably one of the UK's greatest exports, its players' six-figure salaries are putting the financial health of some of the biggest clubs at risk.

Guardian sports writer Matt Scott covers Deloitte's annual review of football finances released this week.

The report notes Premier League teams spent 68% of their income on pay during the 2009-10 season, which effectively wiped out a two per cent improvement in revenues.

However Scott writes that the clubs seem to coming to the collective realisation that this situation, which that resulted in the clubs suffering more than £600m of pre-tax losses in 2009-10 must not be allowed to continue.

Clubs will next season come under new "financial fair play" regulations being introduced by Uefa , the European governing body, which require them to break even or, at worst, achieve a tolerable level of deficit.

The BBC has also covered this story, with the community being of the general consensus that footballers being paid more in a couple of months that most will earn in a life time is absurd.

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