A reader comments. “The FT seems to be taking the prospect of a Labour government seriously”
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Over the next week, the Financial Times will be examining the impact of a prospective Corbyn government on the UK economy as memories of the financial crisis have reinforced the public’s perception of a system rigged against them – despite the ongoing exposures of the excesses of the financial services industry.
FT: “A Corbyn government promises a genuine revolution in the British economy”
It looks at the plans already announced, describing them as “breathtaking in scope”. These include:
- the nationalisation of rail, water, mail and electricity distribution companies,
- significantly higher taxes on the rich,
- the transfer of 10% of shares in every big company to workers (with a maximum annual £500 dividend,
- reform of tenant rights, including a “right to buy” for private tenants,
- borrowing to fund public investment.
- a four-day week,
- pay caps on executives,
- an end to City bonuses,
- a universal basic income,
- £250bn to fund a National Investment Bank to build 1m social homes,
- an increase in the minimum wage,
- higher income tax for those earning over £80,000,
- a new “excessive pay levy”,
- a £5bn-a-year financial transactions tax,
- a corporation tax rise from 19p to 26p in the pound,
- the break-up of the Big Four auditors,
- a ban on all share options and golden handshakes,
- curbs on the voting rights of short-term shareholders,
- the public naming of all workers on over £150,000 a year,
- the nationalisation of parts of the struggling steel industry,
- opposition to the Trident nuclear deterrent and
- delisting of companies that fail to meet environmental criteria from the London Stock Exchange.
Mr Corbyn’s supporters see rebalancing of control from shareholders, landlords and other vested interests to workers, consumers and tenants, “reorienting an economy that works for those at the top but not for the young, the unemployed or those struggling on zero-hours contracts” as “fairness”. But to political opponents, high-earners, business owners, investors and landlords, it is alarming.
On September 1st, the FT declared: “A Corbyn government is no longer a remote prospect. With UK politics scrambled by Brexit, the landscape is unrecognisable”.
Lord David Willetts, a former Conservative cabinet minister who now chairs the Resolution Foundation think-tank, comments: “Brexit is so radical and such a massive gamble, breaking a 40-year trading arrangement, that it’s hard for Tories to say to people ‘don’t gamble on Labour”. They just think: ‘who’s the gambler?’”
Brexit as an opportunity: in his speech to the 2018 Labour conference, Shadow Chancellor John Donnell noted: “The greater the mess we inherit, the more radical we have to be.”
Lord Bob Kerslake, former head of the civil service, who is helping Labour to prepare for government, believes Labour’s manifesto pledges are indeed ‘radical’ but can be delivered. He realises that there are questions about how much of the Corbyn-McDonnell policy platform can be carried out if there is a minority government and stresses the need to make significant progress on it in a first term.
As the FT wrote: “Polling data show that voters currently evince little enthusiasm for a Corbyn government. And yet the existential shock of Brexit, combined with his appeal to younger voters and families fatigued by nearly a decade of austerity, could still deliver the unexpected”.
Posted on September 2, 2019, in Austerity, Brexit, Corporate political nexus, Cuts, Economy, Education, Environment, Finance, Government, Lobbying, Vested interests and tagged 2008 financial crisis, Brexit, consumers, Golden handshakes, Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, landlords, Lord Kerslake, Minimum wage, shareholders, steel industry, taxes, tenants, Trident, workers. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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