This is a suggestion under the heading of Restoring Civil Liberties.
It relates to the bank bailout and the liberties the Financial Sector took in excessive risk taking with money that was not truly theirs to gamble with. This became a Civil Liberty when we all had to bail them out.
My suggestion for restoring this liberty is that the laws on Government company ownership should be changed such that, before the Government is allowed to sell off the shares they have acquired in these institutions, all UK tax payers should be given first option on buying a modest stake.
Restoring the liberties in this way could then mean that we as taxpayers and share holders could have a say in future salaries and bonus payments and the level of risk we wanted our banks to take.
Further variations on this concept could be that all young people (say under 16 or 18) who have had their life chances affected by the cuts to the School Building Programme, child tax credits, and child trust funds could be given a small stake, say £200, to introduce them to the concept of share ownership and an interest in how commerce works. I would not be adverse to the idea of this being funded through a small levy on the public subscriptions (if we paid slightly over the odds then fewer people would be tempted to sell off their stake as we all did with the 1980's sell offs!)
Alternatively pensioners could be given the opportunity to be given shares in lieu of a portion of index linked pension allowing the Government to reduce its cash liability for future pensions. Pensioners could gain more from the dividends from the banks than they will from the limited rises likely from the state pension in future years.
Another option would be for prisoners detained at HM pleasure could be paid for working inside in shares. Convicted criminals would then be able to vote on bankers bonuses – which has a kind of poetic justice about it.
Why is this idea important?
Restoring the liberty taken by the banks is really important to the future social cohesion of the UK.
Given the grievous harm done to many ordinary citizens across the UK through the economic collapse, the eventual sale of the businesses we have all helped to bail out should be seen as a just means to restoring the National reserves. Doing this in a way that offers the benefits of the future profits from the protected business to the widest sections of the community could help reconcile the intense anger and bitterness felt towards the banking sector. Wider share ownership could redistribute the gains (often ill-gotten gains taken from us through excessive banking charges) directly back to the taxpayers of the UK who kept the bankers in business.
It may be argued that pension funds and other similar institutions would be ready to buy up any holdings the Government may sell off and they will return profits to individuals through pension and savings products. While this may account for a proportion a greater level of ownership in private hands would be better as the pension funds seem to do little to limit excessive directors salaries or bonus payouts.