Chuka Umunna MP, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, commenting ahead of the House of Lords debate on the Government’s ‘shares for rights’ scheme, said:
“The Tory-led Government’s economic plan has completely failed, with a flat-lining economy and deficit reduction ground to a halt. Yet instead of getting a proper plan for jobs and growth David Cameron and George Osborne’s priority is to strip away people’s rights.
“The Chancellor’s ‘shares for rights’ scheme is in disarray and, as the former Conservative Employment Minister Lord Forsyth has said, has all the trappings of something that was thought up in the bath. The Employee Ownership Association has condemned the scheme and the Federation of Small Businesses has said it is unlikely to be appropriate for many of their members. We have been clear - the Government should dump this ‘shares for rights’ scheme which commands little support amongst employers and employees.
“The Government’s last ditch concessions on the Bill do not address the fallacy of linking employee share ownership to the loss of people’s fundamental rights at work, which is wrong in principle and something no Government should entertain. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies their scheme will foster a whole new tax avoidance industry too.
“Ministers have pressed on with the scheme, which was cooked up by the George Osborne for his 2012 party conference speech, despite near universal opposition, to save the Chancellor’s face. It seems that the Business Secretary Vince Cable, who is complicit, lacks the clout across Whitehall to stop him.”