Nick Clegg more employee ownership

Nice to see Nick Clegg is interested increasing employee ownership. Here's an article on the BBC if you haven't already heard.Co-operatives UK welcomes the proposals by the Deputy...

Nice to see Nick Clegg is interested increasing employee ownership. Here’s an article on the BBC if you haven’t already heard.

Co-operatives UK welcomes the proposals by the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, to encourage business to reward workers through shares. Giving ownership to the people who work in a business is good for them but it is also good for the economy.

Personally though when people start talking about ‘responsible capitalism’, I get a little worried, do they mean upgrading the way we organise and distribute our shared resources to increase the overall productivity; increase the number of people who benefit and in a more fairer way? If so great!

Or are they talking about a more marketable capitalism, slightly reframing and changing the words we use so that people like the Occupy Movement and others who are questioning the fairness in our current economic system. – Increasing CEO and Bankers pay at a time that vast stretches of the public and private sector are facing multiple year pay freezes and redundancy.

This is always the way with Govt announcements so lets see what happens and I look forward to future developments.

Practical things that would really help increase worker co-operative and employee owned businesses:

  • Simplifying and consolidating co-operative legislation to reduce the cost/complexity giving co-ops a more equal playing field. This would also make the co-operative option clearer to professionals offering advice and guidance. This is in line with the Government’s “red tape challenge” to cut down the costs and burdens on business.
  • Around one-third of all EU firms were expected to change hands in the following decade, affecting around 610,000 SMEs and 2.4 million jobs.  Just promoting and even better offering tax incentives or practical advice for worker buy-outs would increase the number of worker co-operatives, but would also ensure more jobs are kept locally and businesses are more likely to survive. (Have you seen the welsh Baker Boys TV programme). Also Around 30% business closures might be regarded as ‘transfer failures’ – viable firms which close for lack of a suitable successor – rather than simple ‘business failures’.
  • Exploring how to
    widen access to employee ownership to those on lower incomes, in order
    to promote a more participatory economy. There is already a total of
    around £1.2bn of annual tax incentives for employee share ownership but
    this is largely to the benefit of people on higher incomes, forming part
    of the rocketing pay packets of chief executives.
    If these incentives are more available and understood by people on lower incomes there will naturally be an increase in interest in worker ownership of business.

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