UK companies paid five times more in dividends than pensions — FT.com

Britain’s biggest companies paid their shareholders five times more than they spent tackling their pension deficits last year, according to a new analysis that is set to reignite the debate over dividend payouts.Sample the FT’s top stories for a weekYou select the topic, we deliver the news.Select topicEnter email addressInvalid emailSign up By signing up you confirm that you have read and agree to the terms and conditions, cookie policy and privacy policy.As pension shortfalls rise to new highs, research published on Tuesday showed that FTSE 100 companies with “defined benefit” schemes, which offer a guaranteed income in retirement, paid £71bn in dividends last year compared with £13.3bn in pension contributions.The survey, by Lane Clark & Peacock, the actuarial consultants, calculated that nearly a third of FTSE 100 companies could have wiped out their pension deficits in 2015 with the cash they handed to shareholders.

Source: UK companies paid five times more in dividends than pensions — FT.com

The constant shifting of wealth from the vast majority of working people is proceeding apace. It is not good for social cohesion, it is not good for the economy and it is not good for the future of the country. Mrs May needs to get a grip and heed Baroness Altmann’s call for an inquiry into company pensions. That inquiry should have trade unions as part of its membership.

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The US student debt bubble is a study in financial dysfunction — FT.com

One of the most memorable moments of this week’s Democratic National Convention came during Bernie Sanders’ speech, when young delegates wept as the former presidential candidate endorsed Hillary Clinton. No wonder they were crying. Mr Sanders brought America’s $1.2tn student debt bubble into the spotlight, arguing for free college tuition so that young people entering a lacklustre US labour market would not be hamstrung by debts they could never repay.

Source: The US student debt bubble is a study in financial dysfunction — FT.com

Really excellent article about the negative practices and impacts of student debt in the US. The same issues are also very much in play in this country. Education should be structured as public investment not private debt. Given the impact that it has on the spending capacity of the young and therefore demand in the economy it is set to reinforce a spiral of decline that undermines the life opportunities of young people and ultimately the writing off of the debt.