Group calls for ‘living wage’

A conference by the Think-Tank for Action on Social Change will hear calls later today for the Government to introduce “a living wage”.

Group calls for ‘living wage’

Professor Tony Atkinson will also tell the conference on Economic Equality at Croke Park that a State training inheritance for all young adults and a marginal rate income tax of 65% for the highest paid would boost equality.

The concept of a living wage has been advocated in the US and Britain and other countries to help narrow the widening gap between the best paid and the lowest paid.

Inequality has come under renewed debate since the financial crisis in 2008 after unemployment and under-employment rates soared in rich societies.

Professor Atkinson has argued there is nothing inevitable about inequality and that any widening pay inequality ultimately undermines “economic growth and social cohesion”.

“Inequality is now seen as threatening the very sustainability of the world economic system. While there seems to be a consensus on this matter, however, what many political leaders have not said is what they would do about it. While there are repeated calls for equitable growth, little clue has been given as to how this is to be achieved,” he has said.

He believes that increasing the top income tax rate to 65% for high earners and inheritances provided by the State to all people reaching adulthood for their education and training would effectively tackle ingrained inequality.

He has advocated that countries should introduce national pay policies to set a living wage level and set “a code of practice” for the highest paid.

The Think-Tank for Action on Social Change gets its main funding from The Atlantic Philanthropies and The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.

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