Shadow chancellor John McDonnell recently announced plans to nationalise the water industry, rail and other utilities.
Speaking at Labour’s conference, he said the party was “planned, ready and prepared” for a programme of nationalisation if it wins a general election.
Third Way welcomes these promises about nationalisation.
Taking key services away from profiteering bosses and shareholders and putting them back into public ownership would be a good thing.
McDonnell also pledged that Labour would give workers representation on company boards.
This proposed measure, he declared, would give local councils, workers and customers a say in how companies are run.
He added, “We’ll be proud to call that future socialism.”
Jeremy Corbyn had also spoken of this plan that would force businesses to reserve one-third of seats on their boards for workers (with a minimum of two).
In a commitment that echoed 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”.
Labour has also looked at industry ownership.
Under Labour every company with more than 250 employees in Britain would be required to transfer shares into an “inclusive ownership fund” that would be controlled by its workers. Firms would transfer at least 1% of ownership into the fund each year, up to a maximum 10%.
The funds would cover 40% of the private-sector workforce, or 10.7 million people. Sadly foreign-owned companies would not be included (an area that surely needs more study!). The shares would be collectively controlled by the workers, who would have the same voting rights as other investors.
Patrick Harrington, Director of Third Way, welcomed the proposals: “These are good first steps. At Third Way we’ve long argued for a mixed economy founded on worker’s trusts, co-operatives, nationalisation, local authority ownership, mutual societies, small businesses, franchises and co-operatives. We certainly approve of shifting ownership of industry away from the few to the many. We like a lot of what Labour are currently saying. These ideas are not new but for a major party to promise these changes is and that’s refreshing.”