Monday 23 October 2017

Workers in UK asked to give up rights for shares

Andrew Woodcock London

BRITISH workers are to be given a chance to receive shares in their company in return for giving up some of their employment rights.

The radical proposals have been unveiled by Chancellor George Osborne as part of an "enterprise strategy" which Mr Osborne said was needed to save the UK from "sinking" in the face of competition from emerging economies.

It was welcomed by venture capitalist Adrian Beecroft -- author of a review of employment law which recommended the right for bosses to sack at will -- as "a real shot in the arm for Britain's entrepreneurs".

And Simon Walker, director-general of the Institute of Directors, said it had "the potential to reduce the employment law burden on companies and make employees better off at the same time".

But unions condemned the proposal, which will see employees give up their rights to statutory redundancy pay and protection from unfair dismissal as well as the ability to request flexible working hours, in return for between £2,000 and £50,000 worth of shares, which would be exempt from capital gains tax when sold. The Treasury aims to fast-track the scheme through Parliament for introduction in April 2013, and expects hundreds of thousands of employees to sign up within the next few years.

Meanwhile, the scene was set for an autumn of wrangling over cuts within the coalition, as Mr Osborne confirmed his intention to slice a further £10bn (€12.3bn) from welfare by 2016/17, on top of the £18bn (€22.2bn) already announced.

Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said Mr Osborne was setting out the Conservative stall for a negotiation over the months to come.

Contribution

"Nothing in detail has been agreed on further cuts or savings to welfare," Mr Clegg told the BBC. "You need to have a combination of . . . asking people at the top to make a greater contribution and also the contribution from public spending cuts. Exactly how you strike the balance between the two is exactly the kind of thing that the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats will be thrashing out within government in the months ahead."

No precise details were released of how Mr Osborne hopes to find the necessary £10bn in welfare cuts.

Irish Independent

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