James Moore: Sainsbury's chief is talking sense, but Osborne chooses to turn a deaf ear
Outlook Justin King knows a thing or two about employee share ownership. Some 40,000 of his colleagues have shares in Sainsbury's, and 11,000 of them picked up payouts totalling £26.5m last year through the supermarket group's share save scheme.
As the chief executive of a big business, you'd think Mr King would be cheering George Osborne's plan to allow him to offer his staff the chance to give up what the Chancellor thinks are irksome and costly employment rights in exchange for tax-free shares.
Except that he's not. Mr King would rather the Government concentrate on lowering, for example, employer's national insurance contributions. That is an idea that might be worth listening to because, who knows, it might even pay for itself by encouraging employment if Mr King is right and it removes an impediment to hiring.
More hiring might even stimulate a decrepit economy which no less than the IMF thinks will remain in the doghouse until at least next year (there were more bad figures on output and trade yesterday).
Ah but, says Mr Osborne, my measures are aimed at small firms. So that's all right then. Except that it isn't: what bothers a lot of people about the current economic difficulties and how policymakers have reacted to them is the way people have been set against each other. Public sector against private sector, big business against small business, workers against bosses.
Mr Osborne's plan promises more of this, as well as being a cynical way of bringing the repellent Adrian Beecroft's report, calling for employers to be given the right to fire at will, in by the back door.
So, on the one hand, you have a chief executive of one of Britain's biggest businesses, someone who has revived a once-moribund retailer and put thousands of people to work as a result, outlining a constructive idea.
On the other, you have a vulture who made £100m through slashing jobs and then helped bring Wonga.com to the world when not writing reports for his pals in government, or racing classic cars.
The Chancellor has chosen to listen to the latter because he wants to burnish his Thatcherite credentials. The Gentleman's not for turning, regardless of how much damage this causes to the economy, and society.
World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas
Rumours that the star wants to move on to pastures new
Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientists who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Ebola outbreak: What is bushmeat – and is it to blame for the disease that has killed thousands?
- 3 Star Wars memorabilia called a 'bit of plastic' by Antiques Roadshow's Fiona Bruce valued at £50,000
- 4 Russell Brand might seem like a sexy revolutionary worth getting behind, but he will only fail his fans
- 5 Michael McIntyre walks off stage after woman in the front row uses her phone
Ebola outbreak: What is bushmeat – and is it to blame for the disease that has killed thousands?
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: Olympic star must serve 10 years, prosecutor urges
Isis fighters 'crucify' 17-year-old boy in Syria
Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
Oscar Pistorius sentence: Athlete's wealth and notoriety provoke an overdue debate on South African prisons
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Sorry Judy Finnigan – Ched Evans is no less sickening than an alleyway rapist
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Workers 'could be forced to pay £5 a week' to get benefits
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
iJobs Money & Business
£60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...
£27000 - £32000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our large charity ...
£50000 - £55000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Relationship M...
Highly Attractive Salary : Austen Lloyd: NOTTINGHAM - BRILLIANT FIRM - You wil...