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'Fat Cat Wednesday' in Britain

Hardy Graupner
January 4, 2017

British top executives have taken less than three days in 2017 to make more money than an average worker in the UK gets for the whole year, a non-party think tank has said. Welcome to Fat Cat Wednesday!

Fat cat
Image: Fotolia/Nailia Schwarz

Within just two and a half days, Britain's top bosses made more money than the average UK worker earned in an entire year, non-party think tank High Pay Centre said to mark what it called "Fat Cat Wednesday 2017."

According to the center's calculations, pay for top company executives had passed the UK average salary of 28,200 pounds ($34,760, 33,160 euros) by around mid-day on Wednesday.

The think tank pointed out that the country had seen a 2016 in which elites were severely criticized for being "out of touch and ignorant about the concerns of ordinary people." It said the pay gap figures confirmed that there were "dramatically different rates of pay at the top" compared with what everyone else received.

Setting a bad example

High Pay Centre researchers noted that median FTSE100 CEO pay in 2015 was 3,973 million pounds, equivalent to a rate of pay of over 1,000 pounds per hour, while the "national living wage" was 7.20 pounds an hour.

"Our new year calculation is not designed to make the return to work harder than it already is," High Pay Centre Director Stefan Stern said in a statement. "But 'Fat Cat Wednesday' is an important reminder of the continuing problem of the unfair pay gap in the UK."

Stern added he hoped the government would recognize that further reforms to pay practices were needed to narrow that gap.

The think tank stressed that excessive private sector pay deals "set a bad example to some public sector organizations," as controversy over the pay for local authority leaders and NHS Trust executives suggested.