RUTH SUNDERLAND: Taylor Wimpey Boss Redfern’s Unjust Property Benefits
Many accolades have come for Pete Redfern, who is stepping down as CEO of homebuilder Taylor Wimpey after nearly 15 years.
He deserves credit for the role he and the company played in consolidating the homeowners’ democracy that took root in this country in the years of Margaret Thatcher.
Unfortunately, he also ended up in a number of unsavory episodes. There was the leasehold scandal, for example, which left home buyers with rising costs and, in some cases, with properties that were virtually impossible for them to sell.
Real estate portfolio: Pete Redfern (pictured) steps down as chief executive after nearly 15 years as chief executive of homebuilder Taylor Wimpey
Taylor Wimpey and his colleagues are involved in the cladding affair in the wake of the Grenfell Tower inferno.
Redfern also fell into a bad smell for his frequent use of the company’s discount scheme, which is meant to just help staff up the housing ladder, not as an ATM for multimillionaire bosses like him.
As first revealed in this paper a few years ago, he took full advantage of the scheme and quietly amassed a £1.7million portfolio of properties in London and Spain.
In 2019, after much protest, he decided to abandon a plan to buy a luxury apartment on the Thames with £100,000 off under the discount deal.
His behavior was not in the same league as Jeff Fairburn, the former Persimmon boss who became a byword for greed after making £85 million in two years under a controversial incentive scheme.
Still, it was distasteful. Making more than £40 million in wages and bonuses in ten years, Redfern could afford to pay full price, but instead risked damage to his own reputation and that of his company.
Cupidity at the top provides ammunition for leftist house asset attacks.
The Resolution Foundation today published a report claiming that most of the £3 trillion in wealth generated from property over the past two decades has gone to people over 60 in the south of England.
This, the think tank says, is an ‘undeserved, unequal and unencumbered’ windfall that should attract HMRC’s attention.
In trying to penalize real estate buyers, this one-sided tract ignores the huge social and economic benefits of homeownership — and anyone who’s worked long hours to pay off a mortgage in the Southeast could object to the word’ undeserved’.
While our robust housing market is overwhelmingly positive, it is far from perfect, and outraged criticism can easily gain momentum. Attributing benefits intended for the common man to chief executives does not help. Taylor Wimpey’s wages committee must ensure that Redfern’s successor is ejected from that bear trap.
New restrictions to contain the spread of Omicron can come at a high cost.
The Institute of Economic Affairs, a free market group, is suggesting a £4bn a month GDP drop, while the UK Chambers of Commerce are concerned about consumer confidence.
Reluctance to spend or socialize in the run up to Christmas is the last thing the hard-pressed retail and hospitality sectors need right now, or for that matter the travel industry, where Tui will lose £2bn in the year suffered until September.
Companies are increasingly faced with staff shortages and supply chain bottlenecks, which will worsen if a pingdemic strikes again.
Interest rates are likely to remain on hold instead of rising next week, despite inflation concerns. Investment will remain low amid the uncertainty.
Companies have proven to be incredibly flexible and resilient in the face of Covid-19, but at some point there has to be a limit.
When responding to what could be an endless array of variants, the government cannot afford to cover up the effects on the economy.
The moment of truth is approaching for LV. The deadline for postal and online voting passed yesterday, but there is still an opportunity for members to vote in online meetings tomorrow.
This paper is deeply concerned about the prospect of the UK’s second-largest mutual company being acquired by a US private equity firm, despite LV chief executive arguing that it was the best deal on offer and necessary. was to secure investments needed for the future.
Given the level of criticism from politicians and the discontent among members, the poll may well be close.
Whatever their opinion, I urge LV members to exercise their democratic rights. They own the company, not the bosses. Every vote counts.
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