Archbishop Welby demands more idling

6 Sep|Tom Hodgkinson

Idle idol: The Archbishop and 21 co-authors called for more bank holidays in the new IPPR report

Archbishop Welby wants more holidays for all and calls for a “slow” economy

A new report from the lefty think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research has been grabbing headlines for its bold proposals to address inequality. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is among the report’s 22 authors. Among the IPPR’s recommendations are putting workers on the boards of big companies, raising the level of corporation tax and regulating the ad sales monopolies – Google and Facebook.

Generally, think tanks are mouthpieces for rich people’s views and are to be ignored.

However, the IPPR is different. It is funded by a wide range of organisations and the commission behind this particular report comprises progressive economists like Marina Mazzucato as well as city bigwigs like Helena Morrissey, top social workers and academics. So I reckon it is worth listening to.

To save you the bother, I read the report to see if there was anything of interest there for idlers.

Occasionally the report comes across as clueless. To prove the might of Amazon, the authors say: “It has 80% of the online books market.” Erm… it’s a bit bigger than that, my friends. It is the biggest retailer on the planet and controls the world’s shopping.

But in the main, there is some good thinking here. The following line stood out:

“We propose that the number of bank holidays is increased.” Huzzah! The UK currently has only eight.

The report also calls for the economy to slow down a little bit. It lays the blame for inequality at the feet of the shareholder system. As things are currently constructed, the system privileges short-term shareholder value. That means that boards of companies can excuse any sort of immoral behaviour by citing “shareholder interest”. It also means that boards are not being encouraged to take a longer term view. The IPPR therefore encourages boards to start thinking into the future and about the welfare of everyone involved – staff and customers as well as shareholders. The message could be contracted to a simple: “hey, British business, slow down!”

To read the full report, follow this link.