Tag Archives: employee owner

Why can’t Labour support working people AND be pro-business?

Know your enemy: If you want to know why Labour was so soft on business between 1997 and 2010, here's your answer - Peter (now Lord) Mandelson was in charge of Trade, Industry, and Business at various times throughout those Parliaments.

Know your enemy: If you want to know why Labour was so soft on business between 1997 and 2010, here’s your answer – Peter (now Lord) Mandelson was in charge of Trade, Industry, and Business at various times throughout those Parliaments.

Michael Meacher has missed a trick in his recent blog article about Lords Myners and Mandelson – who say they want Labour to be pro-business.

He correctly identifies these two peers – one of whom (Mandelson) is a Blairite Labour Party member and therefore might as well be a Tory, while the other (Myners) is not aligned to a political party and therefore might as well be a Tory – as being very rich and refers to them sarcastically as “those stalwart supporters of working people”, meaning the exact opposite.

He correctly states that they are wrong to claim that Ed Miliband’s attack on “predatory capitalism” is harmful to Labour’s election prospects, pointing to poll results showing that the next election winner needs to be tough on big business.

And he correctly – yes, Ukippers, correctly – points out that businesspeople know an in-out referendum on membership of the European Union could cause huge harm to their firms if the vote goes in favour of leaving.

These are all good points, but Mr Meacher could have gone much further.

Labour should be pushing its policies as better for business than anything the Conservatives have to offer – because they are.

The party wants more firms and public sector organisations to pay the living wage. As this blog has stated time and time again, this can only help British industry as it would show employees that their contribution is valued, encouraging them to improve the quality of their work and build up their employer’s profitability and prospects of expansion.

That’s not all that Labour can do. The party should be much bolder in its aims. For example:

The party should be promoting employee-ownership to more and more firms – the advantages of becoming co-operatives. Look at the success of John Lewis, whose employees receive a bonus equal to around four months’ extra pay – every year – because of the way that company is set up. John Lewis is going from strength to strength and so is its workforce. There is no valid argument against it.

Yes, there are some within the Labour Party who continue to push timid concepts about “strengthening” the minimum wage, but like Lords Myners and Mandelson, they might as well be Tories and it is time they were purged from the party. Neil Kinnock got rid of the Militant Tendency left-wingers; why shouldn’t Ed Miliband similarly divest himself of the right-wing fifth-columnist parasites who have held Labour back for his entire term as leader (including, of course, his idiot advisors)?

The Conservative Party’s idea of helping business has failed completely. It could never have done otherwise; starving the economy of money during a downturn makes it next-to-impossible for any but the largest firms to turn a profit.

Labour must present a vibrant alternative.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Another Tory ‘bait-and-switch’ scam – shares-for-rights scheme is employers’ tax dodge

shares-rights-tax

“This government is taking action domestically on [tax] avoidance and evasion,” wrote George Osborne in an article for The Observer, back in February. How right he was.

The Tory-led Coalition has done everything in its power to facilitate tax avoidance and ignore evasion, it seems, including the latest wheeze, which is to link it with a feeble attempt to get working people to throw away their rights in exchange for a few shares.

The BBC has reported that the new status of “employee shareholder” has come into force, allowing working people to claim shares in the company that employs them, if they give up the rights to claim unfair dismissal and statutory redundancy pay, the right to request flexible working (except in the case of two weeks’ parental leave), and some rights to request time off for training.

Nobody in their right mind would do this and expert opinion is that take-up will be small. So why do it?

Well, it’s not about the workers at all. It’s about helping company bosses avoid paying their taxes. Even the right-wing-leaning BBC was unable to cover up the facts (although it left them until the end of the article):

“Companies can also claim some corporation tax deductions on the issuance of shares to employees.”

Yes – it’s a tax dodge!

Here’s how it works, according to the Mirror: “New analysis show[s] it could also allow executives to avoid paying revenue on company shares. Tax experts commissioned by the TUC believe ruthless bosses could classify themselves as ’employee owners’ to escape Capital Gains Tax. And the Office for Budget Responsibility estimates the scheme could cost up to £1 billion, mainly due to tax avoidance.”

This will, of course, involve a drop in tax income to the Treasury, meaning increases in the national debt and deficit, which the Tories will no doubt use to justify further cuts to public service budgets as part of their ‘Starve The Beast’ agenda. Remember, this country has a chancellor who, for ideological purposes, actually wants to harm the British economy.

Meanwhile, as our friend at Another Angry Voice has put it: “If you’re thick enough to cash in your labour rights for a few grand worth of shares in the company you work for, then in a couple of years time when people are calling you ‘feckless’ for being unemployed, you’ll be one of the minority that actually deserve it (and your shares might well be worth only pennies in the pound compared to the value they had when you scrapped your labour rights to get them).”