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Government push on employee ownership

Deputy PM Nick Clegg has announced a new Institute for Employee Ownership to make it easier for people to run their own business.

Clegg said he wants employee ownership to become ‘normal’ and told a summit in London that he is keen to see a culture shift that will help people become their own boss.

He said: “If we move towards some mechanism by which employees can trigger a request for employee ownership, as today's report says, a number of questions still need answering: What’s the correct minimum number of employees needed to make a request? What are fair grounds for turning one down? Should they be allowed at any time, or just at a specific point in the business life cycle, like succession? And, crucially, is the best way to achieve this a new statutory right, or some other mechanism?

“So, in order to get the answer to these and other questions, we're launching a call for evidence. We'll gather the views of the sector as well as business and employees more broadly and we'll report back in the autumn.”

Employee-owned firms have less absenteeism, higher productivity and more equal pay structures, Clegg said.

Co-operatives UK research shows that the employee-owned sector is growing at twice the rate of the economy at large.

Report author Graeme Nuttall said: “This task of knocking down the barriers falls to all in the employee ownership sector, as much as it does to government, and also to new audiences, who need to consider what employee ownership means and joins the growing number that believe employee ownership is a great idea.”

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber backed the idea, saying: “The TUC welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the debate on how workers might start owning shares in the places where they work for the benefit of everyone.”

Clegg’s speech is at

Image shows Nick Clegg and Minister for Employment Relations Norman Lamb at Make Architects in Central London, ahead of the Summit on Employee Ownership (Crown Copyright).

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