Advertisement
Features

Labour finds a radical new idea

John McDonnell’s speech at the Labour party conference was no triumph, but it did at least get people talking.

915-John-McDonnell-634
John McDonnell has come up with a radical new idea

John McDonnell's big Labour conference speech "was hardly a rhetorical triumph", says the Economist. However, the shadow chancellor's proposal to force firms to give shares to their workers "has provided the Labour Party with the closest thing that it has to a radical new idea". Although the specific plans are "badly worked out", even critics will have to agree "there is an interesting debate to be had" about employee ownership.

Advertisement - Article continues below

"To say there's problems with it is an understatement," says Sam Dumitriu on CapX. While employee ownership is common in Silicon Valley, "what works for Google might not work for Marks & Spencer". In any case, what McDonnell proposes is "stock that can't be sold on" with most of the money going to the Treasury. The new rules could also hit employment "firms that are close to reaching 250 employees "might put off hiring, or outsource jobs to a subsidiary". Overall, these measures "would see innovation squashed and workers left out in the cold".

Not so fast, says Aditya Chakrabortty in the Guardian. The proposals aren't "perfect", and caused "outright war" when they were tried in Sweden, but something needs to be done. Workers have "been getting smaller and smaller slices of the pie", as Andy Haldane, the Bank of England's chief economist, has noted.

"Employees get proportionately less now than they did at the very outset of the Industrial Revolution in the 1770s." Yet this is not solely about money it's about giving people "a stake and a voice in the enterprises in which they spend most of their waking hours".

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

How long can the good times roll?
Economy

How long can the good times roll?

Despite all the doom and gloom that has dominated our headlines for most of 2019, Britain and most of the rest of the developing world is currently en…
19 Dec 2019
Beyond the Brexit talk, the British economy isn’t doing too badly
Economy

Beyond the Brexit talk, the British economy isn’t doing too badly

The political Brexit pantomime aside, Britain is in pretty good shape. With near-record employment, strong wage growth and modest inflation, there is …
17 Oct 2019
UK house prices hit a new record high – can it last?
House prices

UK house prices hit a new record high – can it last?

Despite the pandemic, UK house prices have hit a new high. John Stepek looks at what’s driving the surge in prices, and what it means for house prices…
7 Aug 2020
We're all going to have to be a lot more flexible
UK Economy

We're all going to have to be a lot more flexible

As the world gets older, we'll all have to retire later and finance it for longer. That's going to take a major rethink about an awful lot of things, …
6 Aug 2020

Most Popular

Don’t despair on dividends – these companies could be set to bring them back
Income investing

Don’t despair on dividends – these companies could be set to bring them back

The value of dividends paid out by UK stocks has plummeted this year as companies “rebase” their payment policies. But things could soon start to look…
6 Aug 2020
Platinum: the precious metal that looks set to play catch-up with silver and gold
Silver and other precious metals

Platinum: the precious metal that looks set to play catch-up with silver and gold

Gold and silver continue to soar, but there's still time to get in. And there's another precious metal that looks set to go on a bull run too, says Jo…
7 Aug 2020
The MoneyWeek Podcast: how to age well and profit from the “longevity dividend”
Investment strategy

The MoneyWeek Podcast: how to age well and profit from the “longevity dividend”

Merryn talks to economist and author Andrew J Scott and discusses how we can profit from the "longevity dividend" as we live longer; why we need to re…
6 Aug 2020