House of Lords rejects Shares for Rights
On the same day the Chancellor of the Exchequer used his budget statement to announce that his “Employee Shareholders” – a new status of employee that will give staff a stake in their employer’s business – that the first £2,000 of share value that anyone receives under the new status will be free from income tax and NICs, the House of Lords has voted by a majority of 54 to defeat the “ill-thought through, confused, and muddled” plan.
Lord O’Donnell, – previously the Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell – described the scheme in language that suggests he too relies on these pages from Employment Law Clinic for his employment law news (provided from a fellow ex-civil servant): “in the old days the price of slavery was 20 or 30 pieces of silver; is it now £2,000?” he asked.
The legislation will now return to the Commons where the coalition government is likely to reinstate it, although they will have to reflect on the comments from some of their own respected members of the Upper House that did chose to speak against the proposals, and “employee shareholders” may just be a quieter “pasty tax” u-turn of this budget.
Update: Records of the debate are now be available from the Lords Hansard Records.