Cap wages of highest earners, Patrick Harvie urges

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THE Scottish Government is facing calls to introduce wage caps for high earners to tackle the growing gap between rich and poor in Scotland.

Green party leader Patrick Harvie has hit out at recent attempts by Royal Bank of Scotland to pay bonuses worth 200 per cent of salaries to its executives.

The countries' highest earners should have their wages capped to bridge the gap between the richest and the poorest in Scotland, Patrick Harvie has said. Picture: Getty

The countries' highest earners should have their wages capped to bridge the gap between the richest and the poorest in Scotland, Patrick Harvie has said. Picture: Getty

The EU has implemented a cap on bonuses.

Mr Harvie is calling on the Scottish Government to investigate the option of establishing maximum wage ratios that would limit the difference between the lowest and highest pay.

The issue is being debated by MSPs at Holyrood today as part of measures to reduce the gap between the richest and poorest workers in Scotland.

Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow said: “As Scotland debates its future it’s essential that we focus on the structure of the economy, not just trying to put a safety net in place at the bottom.

“Inequality can’t be tackled without addressing the excesses at the top, as well as outlawing poverty pay at the bottom. That means progressive taxation, as well as a humane welfare system that’s designed to guarantee dignity for everyone instead of stigmatising and humiliating people.”

Among other policies, the party is promoting the idea of maximum wage ratios, which would link increases in executive level pay to those at the bottom of an organisation or company.

A referendum was held in Switzerland in November 2013 on limiting executive pay to 12 times that of the lowest paid, although it was rejected.

Mr Harvie added: “The evidence has been growing from around the world that inequality isn’t just unfair – it makes society less healthy, less safe and less sustainable.

“Before the recession we saw most of the proceeds of economic growth going to those who needed it the least, and most of the social and environmental harm dumped on the rest. The recession itself, and the UK Government’s brutal economic policies have made the problem of inequality even worse.”

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