Yesterday, BBC broadcasted live the 'emergency' budget speech by George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom. It wasn't the usual budget speech but one that touched on many things that are wrong with the economy and society today. It was a realistic accurate assessment of the current state of the British economy and attempts to break from the past. The remedy, devoid of ideological influence, is the toughest Budget in Britain for a century.
Here is something I picked up listening to his speech on the civil service pay scale:
"And we have asked Will Hutton to draw up plans for fairer pay across the public sector, without increasing the overall pay bill, so that those at the top of organisations are paid no more than 20 times the salaries of those at the bottom.
The culture of excessive pay at the very top of the public sector simply has to end"
- George Osborne, Chancellor Exchequer, UK [Link]
UK has a income disparity that has been increasing in the past 2 decades. The current leaders see this as a serious problem that has to be addressed and they start by setting the example with those in public service.
It is a myth that if you keep increasing the pay of those in high office, you will get better and better people. What happens is a culture of entitlement takes root and the excessive pay just breeds greed and complacency. You mix this with the elitist beliefs and the selection system we have in Singapore where ordinary citizens are told that those who made it to the top are rare and extraordinary talents we end up with a lot less accountability. Be it downtown floods, massive losses in our sovereign wealth fund, escape of dangerous terrorists etc you see little accountability from the people on top who are paid the highest salaries in the world.