Phil Hall: Fight to stop ‘shares for rights’

After intense lobbying by IFS ProShare and other organisations, the House of Lords scrapped the new employee shareholder policy, commonly referred to as ‘shares for rights’.

Regrettably, the government has now reintroduced the policy.

Readers may ask: why do we oppose something that superficially creates more employee shareholders? The four key reasons are: it undermines existing employee share ownership plans by association; it unnecessarily removes employees’ rights; it is not wanted by the vast majority of businesses; and it creates a multi-million-pound tax-avoidance opportunity.

The government appears intent on ignoring the views of most UK businesses, all the representative bodies for the share ownership industry and most peers in the House of Lords.

But there is some hope that this divisive policy will be dropped because the legislation has to go back to the Lords to be reconsidered.

We will continue to press Parliament to do the right thing.

Phil Hall is special adviser to IFS ProShare

Since the May issue of Employee Benefitswent to press, the employee ownership scheme was passed in the House of Lords.