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Ending the super salaries

UK Labour leader wants “maximum wage” law to stop inequality

UK Labour leader wants “maximum wage” law to stop inequality

A new economic approach proposed by U.K. opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn is starting to make waves. Ahead of a speech on Tuesday outlining his party’s approach to Brexit, the Labour Party leader has said he’s in favor of a maximum wage cap to prevent the U.K. from becoming a “grossly unequal, bargain-basement economy.”

Interviewed Tuesday on several British news programs, Corbyn failed to give specific details of his plan. “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,” he said on the “Today” show.

Corbyn said that corporate taxation was part of the problem and that if the country wants to adequately fund public services “we cannot go on creating worse levels of inequality.” Corbyn told Sky News that the cap would be “somewhat higher” than his own annual salary, which is £138,000 ($167,000). He highlighted the levels of executive pay and the “simply ridiculous” wages earned by Premiership footballers. “Why would someone need to earn more than £50m a year?”

While Corbyn’s comments will come as a surprise to many — including to some in his own party — they are not entirely new. During his leadership campaign in 2015, he said: “There ought to be a maximum wage. The levels of inequality in Britain are getting worse.”

The comments are likely to overshadow a speech Corbyn will make in Peterborough later Tuesday where the Labour leader will outline his party’s approach to Brexit and explain how Britain can be better off out of the European Union.

Corbyn will call for “a reasonably managed migration” policy but noted he “is not wedded to freedom of movement for EU citizens as a point of principle.” When pushed on this point by the BBC, Corbyn said he was not proposing new restrictions on movement of people into the U.K., but said there should be a move to end the exploitation of low-skilled workers and drive more local recruitment — which would “probably” reduce overall numbers.

Ukip has dismissed the comments as “a load of flannel” that wouldn’t fool voters, while the Conservatives said Labour was in “chaos” on the issue and had no policies in place to control immigration.

In his speech, Corbyn is expected to say that losing access to the single market is not an option given how many U.K. businesses and jobs depend on it, and that he plans to hold Theresa May and her government to account during Brexit negotiations.

“There can be no question of giving Theresa May’s Tories a free pass in the Brexit negotiations. Unlike the Tories, Labour will insist on a Brexit that works not just for City interests but in the interests of us all.”

That speech is seen as the first official outing for a rebooted Jeremy Corbyn, one more attuned to appeal to the populist left – the disenfranchised voters tired of the political machinations of mainstream politicians.

The new plan, developed by Labour strategists, hopes to plug in to the huge surge of support for anti-establishment figures like Donald Trump and Nigel Farage in recent years, and while Corbyn represents an altogether different type of politics, advisers believes his down-to-earth manner could help revitalize the Labour Party, which is trailing the Tories in opinion polls.

Cover: ASSOCIATED PRESS

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