What we learned this week: 10 January 2020

10 January 2020

It’s difficult to think of any big news this week other than the shock royal announcement, from which we didn’t really learn anything, in fact we were left with more questions than answers. Are they going to struggle to become financially independent? Does this mean there might be another series of Suits? And most importantly, if he loses his title will Harry call himself the man formerly known as Prince? (Thanks @paullewismoney for that one).

However, struggling to cut through this, we did learn a few things this week:

1. Financial services are servicing the tax man very well

Britain’s financial services sector contributed a record £75.5bn in tax in 2019, according to a new report on behalf of the City of London Corporation, amounting to 10.5 per cent of all government tax receipts.

Whilst this is a good thing, reducing the need to raise tax receipts from elsewhere (such as those on low-to-middle incomes), it comes with a warning from IPPR’s Henry Parkes, who is concerned that the UK is too reliant on the finance sector for its tax income. Putting all our financial eggs in one basket might not be a good idea if the goose stops laying her golden eggs (to stretch a metaphor for all its worth).

2. Depressingly, food bank usage is increasing in Scotland

A menu for change, a group of NGOs working to reduce the need for emergency food aid in Scotland, reported that ‘more than 1,000 emergency food parcels are being handed out every day in Scotland - and numbers are rising’. Find out more about what they’re doing to tackle it here.

3. Tax rises haven’t kept up with wealth

This is an amazing illustration showing how taxes have not kept up with the growth of individual wealth in the US. It’s a similar picture in the UK, where wealth has grown to three times GDP in the 1980s to nearly seven times GDP now. More about that later in the year when we launch our first audit on wealth in the UK with Resolution Foundation.

US Cartoon

4. We celebrated High Pay Day, or at least a few CEOs did

On Monday we marked High Pay Day, the day in 2020 where the average FTSE 100 CEO has already earned what it will take the average worker the whole year to earn. The High Pay Centre reported that it takes just 33 hours for a FTSE 100 CEO to earn the average worker’s annual wage.

If you’re interested in the pay gap, we’re launching a project with the High Pay Centre at our offices in London next month. Sign up to our newsletter and we’ll send you more details.

5. And finally, don’t forget our next application deadline

If you’ve got an idea on how we can tackle financial problems or improve living standards you’ve got less than a month to apply for a grant in our next round. Applications need to be in by 4th February at 1pm.

Thanks to @harrygrobertson, @Henry_J_Parkes, @TrussellTrust, @MenuforChange, @IFAN_UK, @HighPayCentre, @DLeonhardt, @paullewismoney, @politico and @wuerker for this week's content.