A Dividend Too Far!

Graham Forsyth
Cllr Graham Forsyth, Avishayes ward Chard

Just how long can this country go on supporting private business with public funds and with no real say in the outcome or have any share of the profits? We have seen an almost year on year reduction in corporation taxes, coupled with low interest rate start up grants and council tax holidays for businesses large and small.

Now I am all for helping and supporting local businesses but I believe that the pendulum has swung too far towards the business community and this in turn is not serving or supporting the local community well.

I of course refer to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) who now want additional government funds  in order that they can provide more apprenticeships. Now I always thought that you invested in people and capital equipment to grow your business and this is a partnership between employers and employees with a benefit to the local community and the country as a whole.

In the good old days, if they were indeed any, the public utilities were a grand place to learn a skill or trade and undertake an apprenticeship and were often the first job opportunity for many entering the world of employment. The main sources of apprenticeships were with the likes of the electricity, gas and water boards; and council departments like highways, housing and education. But these have all been sold off to the highest bidder or at best outsourced; with many in foreign ownership and so the profits and sometimes the tax goes overseas.

Towards a living wage?

Time and time again I keep hearing the cry that businesses cannot afford to pay a living wage and that the minimum wage only servers as a legal benchmark to what most employers can get away with paying their employees. Without it I am sure many employees would be paid even less following the “lets leave it to market forces” notion!

With many small to medium companies openly stating that if they were legally required to pay a living wage then they would seek to transfer the production overseas to maintain their profit margins and of course the shareholders’ dividends.

I could never understand the idea of tax credits introduced under the last Labour Government. This seemed to be yet another scheme for tax payers to part fund the salary of low paid workers where the employers pays many of its workers a wage they simply cannot afford to live on and so forcing many to turn to the state for the top-up component ‘tax credit’ of their wage. This has lead to so many being dependent of the benefit system that the current coalition is trying to reduce so quickly and at a terrible human cost.

Now this country has never had enjoyed good industrial relations that our major European competitors; like say France, Holland, Sweden and Germany. This can be traced back to the post second world war rebuilding period. Where the then named Federation of British Industry (FBI) insisted that there were no place on any boardrooms for trade union or employee representation. Totally different from our European counterparts where it is a legal requirement to have workers representation on the boardroom. This omission set the scene for decades of strikes and mass industrial unrest as the class war continued as Britain declined as more engaging economies grew and developed and seized our once loyal markets.

A volatile workforce built on insecurity

Today we are seeing the trend where many employers recruiting from the European Union many migrant workers to maintain a low wage economy where workplace fear is the norm and zero hours contacts are yet a new way to maintain this race to the bottom for a low skill and a volatile workforce built on insecurity.

Is this really the society we want for our children and our children’s children? The direct effects of this type of environment is the rise of betting shops on our high streets and the growth of payday loan companies as people take every desperate measure to survive in a workplace where so many hard fought terms and conditions are dismantled to increase the profits and dividends for the few gorging at the top table.


Cllr Graham Forsyth

9 Fairway Rise



TA20 1NS


07974 972408

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Alan Bond
Alan Bond
10 years ago

A brilliant summing up of the situation created by thatcher and perpetuated by blair, the tories’ placeman in the Labour Party. ‘New’ Labour was a disaster that didn’t even seek to address the problems of thatcherism and Ed Miliband needs to get away from the idea that tory style cuts for the weakest and most vulnerable are the answer when they are the problem. The first thing an incoming Labour government needs to do is to restore exchange control restrictions to ensure that the wealth created by the majority is not exported for the benefit of the few but used at home for the benefit of those who actually create it rather than those who hoard it.

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