Look to Greggs for inspiration to make country fairer, Tory MP says

Bakery chain Greggs should be used as inspiration for reforms to take people out of poverty, according to a prominent Tory.

Tom Tugendhat, who has previously told how he would like to be Prime Minister, said Theresa May’s desk was “rather overloaded” by Brexit and she had been “drowned out” in her hopes to change the country.

In a wide-ranging speech setting out a vision for economic and social reform, the Conservative MP insisted his blueprint was “not a leadership bid, it’s a bid to change the country”.

Mr Tugendhat hailed Greggs for helping staff to take a step up by giving them support to shift into more challenging roles.

He added: “I like the way it’s run. The employees of that bakery get a share not just in the profit of their own labour but in the output of the firm as a whole.

“After six months they get profit share and a chance to take part in a share save scheme that allows them to buy in at a discounted rate.”

The Foreign Affairs Committee chairman said Tory personal allowance changes had taken most low-paid workers out of income taxation and it was now time to look at other ways to boost incomes.

Tom Tugendhat
Tom Tugendhat

Speaking to the Social Market Foundation think tank, he suggested using public money to reward companies who reward their staff “like Greggs”.

Mr Tugendhat said tax breaks for profit sharing should be considered.

Asked whether the speech was a leadership bid, the Tonbridge and Malling MP replied: “I’m not going to go through the usual humbug of ‘there’s no opening, there’s no job’.

“I got into politics to change my country. I got into politics because I care about the people and communities we live in. I got into politics because this is my home.”

He added: “It’s not a leadership bid, it’s a bid to change the country.”

Mr Tugendhat said the PM’s desk was “rather overloaded” by Brexit.

He said: “I think there is an opportunity for her to put her vision back before the country.

“She has been drowned out.”

Although Mrs May’s radicalism is coming through it is “more softly than I would like”, the MP said, while acknowledging that Government had to “weigh up many more conflicting issues” than backbenchers did.