Lords Reject “Rights for Shares” by Increased Majority
With an majority that’s grown by 15 – from 54 on 20 March, to 69 votes on 22 April 2013 – the government have once again lost a crucial vote in the House of Lords, their new status of “Employee Shareholder” (or “employment rights for shares”) defeated for the second time in the upper chamber today.
The Growth and Infrastructure Bill will now return to the Commons for parliamentary ping-pong, where two new amendments have been tabled in support of the clause. Amendments tabled will reportedly provide written details of any proposed scheme, and a seven-day “cooling-off” period.
Given the broad range of opponents to the proposals, and the small majority of 38 secured in the last Commons vote, unless an amendment is introduced that actually addresses some of the concerns raised by peers, the government may now struggle to get this legislation introduced into law, a humbling u-turn looking more likely – or in practice, withdrawing the clause for now with a(n empty) promise to reintroduce the legislation in a future parliamentary session… following which it could be quietly (many, including 260 peers, say sensibly) forgotten.
Rights Surrendered/Compensating Benefits for Employee Shareholders
The status of “Employee Shareholder”, an idea first floated by the Chancellor at the Conservative Party Conference last year, would give employees shares of between £2,000 and £50,000 exempt from Capital Gains tax. In return, the employees would have to sacrifice their rights to redundancy pay, protection from unfair dismissal, the right to request flexible working, and increase the notice required to take maternity leave – but with the latest amendments, have seven days to reflect on their decision.