The pamphlet endorses a plan, drawn up by the corporate finance firm Portman Capital Partners, under which every British adult would be given shares in the banks that were rescued by the government. As the Daily Telegraph says:
Under the plan, each UK citizen could receive about 1,450 shares in RBS and 440 in Lloyds – worth a total of more than £900 at current market prices.
"Every citizen would have the same rights as shareholders at the moment, so they'd have the rights to get the company annual report. They could turn up at the AGM," Mr Williams told the BBC this morning.
"What might happen, for instance, is there could be shareholder associations set up of citizens who own these shares, who will put pressure on the banks to change their behaviour. Banks and all other companies are meant to be owned by their shareholders and to respond to their shareholders' wishes."The idea of these shareholders associations is attractive, but I suspect that most shareholders would sooner or later take the money, as happened when the building societies were demutualised. And, given the pressure on public finances at present, there is a case for the government getting every penny it can for these bank shares when it comes to sell them.
But I find this plan attractive. It is, as I heard Stephen Williams say on television this evening, a way of ensuring that poorer people, whose taxes helped to bail our the banks, see some benefit when the shares are sold. If the are simply sold on the open market, this will not happen.
You can download the full pamphlet from the CentreForum site.