Small shareholders – a hostage to fortune?

The Times reported today that the Conservatives’ lead over Labour in a YouGov poll was – at just 6% -the closest the two parties have been since Gordon Brown saw a resurgence in popularity when he ‘rescued’ the UK economy.

The Times also wove into this story George Osborne’s pledge to allow small shareholders to benefit, under a Conservative Government, from a profit share from the now-public banks. “The bankers have had their bonuses” the Shadow Chancellor said.

The juxtaposition of the two stories is unfortunate, but perhaps not unintended. The Times story came across as a typical ‘jam tomorrow’ story for the Conservatives.

The reality is far different. The British public were never given any say when their cash – in shedloads – was given over to bankers to bale out their mistakes. Now the money has been spent – and the bankers are still paying out inflated salaries – it’s about time the public got something back.

But ‘small shareholders’? Why not offset something that all taxpayers can benefit from – like VAT or income tax? ‘Small shareholders’ seems like a hostage to fortune.


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