News in Digest: Well off, but not too wealthy

Danes have more income to spend than ever before, but still resent the accelerating wages of the top earners

People in Denmark might have more money at their disposal than ever before, according to new figures from Danske Bank, but that doesn’t stop them getting angry about executive pay and bonuses.

Family fortunes
A two adult, two children family have 620,000 kroner of disposable income after tax per year –180,000 kroner higher than a decade ago – while childless couples average 450,000 kroner.

Singles and single parents were also in the pink, leaving just students and the unemployed, once inflation is taken into account, as having less than they had ten years ago.

Far too generous
However, according to a survey carried out by Wilke on behalf of Finans, 68 percent of Danes believe that remuneration packages to CEOs are far too generous.

Almost three out of four believe it is important for social cohesion that CEO wages don’t deviate too far from current salary trends.

CEO wages have increased by almost 10 percent per year since 2013, whilst bonuses rose by 22 percent per year during the period.

In contrast, private sector wages have only risen by 6 percent.

A quarter stashed away
It’s probably no surprise to learn, therefore, that the country’s 320 wealthiest families have stashed an estimated 60 billion kroner in tax havens, according to a report based on the 2015 HSBC Bank leak in Switzerland.

According to ‘Swiss Leaks’, the families have hidden away a quarter of their wealth.

Taking action
The Danish Parliament is accordingly taking action to combat international tax evasion, demanding more transparency in the area of tax consultancy and freeing up more resources dedicated to controlling tax havens.

Some 100 million kroner of funding has been earmarked over the next four years to a new centre that will consolidate efforts against tax evasion, making it easier to share information and data, and thus better identify new methods and patterns of fraud.

“It’s damaging to the ordinary Dane’s sense of justice when they see the cheaters sneak money across borders in a bid to avoid paying taxes,” said the 33-year-old tax minister, Karsten Lauritzen.

“The former government had already created a sound foundation in this arena, and I am pleased to further build on that.”