The FT has noted a report this morning that suggests:
Britain’s biggest companies paid their shareholders five times more than they spent tackling their pension deficits last year, according to a new analysis that is set to reignite the debate over dividend payouts.
As pension shortfalls rise to new highs, research published on Tuesday showed that FTSE 100 companies with “defined benefit” schemes, which offer a guaranteed income in retirement, paid £71bn in dividends last year compared with £13.3bn in pension contributions.
So here's a simple idea for Labour leadership candidates: why not suggest a straightforward change to the law that says no company is allowed to pay dividends whilst running a pension deficit?
It would not be hard to do or draft.
It would be very effective.
And it would make clear who Labour thought was the more important and committed contributor to the success of a company when the choice has to be between its employees or providers of capital.
Putting labour first should come naturally to the Party, I would have thought.
PS The idea is open to others as well.