Workers to make up one third of company board members under Labour, Jeremy Corbyn vows

Labour leader says that a 'reckless corporate culture' has been allowed to fester 'which is damaging Britain's economy'

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent, in Liverpool
Monday 24 September 2018 11:17 BST
Jeremy Corbyn arrives at Labour party conference in Liverpool

Jeremy Corbyn has unveiled a new plan that would force businesses to reserve one-third of seats on their boards for workers.

In a commitment that echoes Theresa May‘s abandoned proposals to give employees greater representation, the Labour leader said it would give workers a “real say” in how companies are run and help combat a “reckless corporate culture”.

If elected, a Labour government would force both private and public companies with a workforce of 250 or more to set aside at least one third of places at the boardroom table for worker representatives, with a minimum of two.

“Workers are Britain’s real wealth creators,” Mr Corbyn said on the eve of Labour’s annual conference in Liverpool. “In workplaces across the country, working hours have got longer, productivity has nosedived, pay has fallen and insecurity has risen.

He told the Sunday Times: “Businesses have been allowed to get away with such exploitative practices because the balance of power has shifted against workers. That has allowed a reckless corporate culture to fester which is damaging Britain’s economy.”

Labour said a similar policy – floated by Ms May shortly after she became prime minister – was U-turned on by the Conservatives, with polls showing popular support for its proposals.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, told Sky News on Sunday that the policy would enable employees to have a stake in the company.

It comes as the party also announced separate plans for a new levy on second homes used as holiday homes to help tackle homelessness.

Under the plans, second properties in England used as holiday homes would be subject to an average tax bill of over £3,200, raising £560m.

John Healey, the shadow housing secretary, said Britain’s rising homelessness “shames us all”, adding: “It is unforgivable that under the Tories, the number of children stuck growing up in hostels and B&Bs has skyrocketed.

“Over the last eight years, the government has turned its back on the scandal of poor housing and homelessness. A housing market that works for the many needs government action to ensure everyone has a place to call home.”

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