Maximum earnings limit a ‘bad idea’, says British public

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
January 11, 2017, 10:16 AM GMT+0

Snap YouGov poll on Jeremy Corbyn’s proposal for a maximum earnings limit finds a 13 point lead for those who think it is a bad idea

Whilst criticising the UK’s high levels of income disparity during an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday morning, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that he would like to see a maximum earnings limit.

The comment was immediately seized upon. Danny Blanchflower, a former economic adviser to the Labour leader, said the policy was “totally unworkable” and “totally idiotic”.

A Labour spokesman later claimed that Corbyn had “misspoke”, and the policy did not appear during his speech later in the day on controlling ratios of pay in British companies.

Put to the general public, YouGov found that a maximum wage cap (set at £1m a year in our question) was seen as a good idea by fewer than one in three people (31%). At 44%, the number of people who think the policy would be a bad idea has a 13 point lead, whilst a further one in four people can’t decide either way.

Unsurprisingly, the most staunchly opposed group are Conservative voters, 59% of whom think a cap is a bad idea, compared to 23% a good one. Also particularly strongly opposed are Londoners (50% vs 32%) and middle class people (50% vs 29%).

Among only one group did more people think a maximum wage cap was a good rather than bad idea: SNP supporters, of whom 40% consider it to be a good idea compared to 33% a bad one.

Labour supporters are evenly split on their party leader’s policy, with 39% apiece thinking it is a good/bad idea.

Previous YouGov research on a £1m maximum earnings cap from September 2015 found that 39% would support the policy whilst 44% would oppose it. Whilst the two surveys are worded differently and are therefore not directly comparable, it would seem that the public mood may have shifted somewhat against the policy in the intervening period.

Photo: PA

See the full results here