I believe that phrase refers in part to the recent phenomenon of hugely profitable companies paying many* of their staff so little that those staff are only able to get by through receiving top-up benefits from the state.
* Except for the senior executives. They're paid enough not to need state handouts. They also refuse to contribute to those benefits the state has to pay by "mitigating their tax liabilities". After all, it's only the little people who pay tax.