By George_Carey

Clegg pushing for employee share ownership

How would you feel about owning a slice of your employer’s company? Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has approved the practice of employee share ownership, or ‘John Lewis’ culture, stating it will improve productivity and unlock growth for businesses. Clegg made the announcement yesterday at an event hosted by the City of London Corporation and the Centre Forum think-tank.

 The Deputy PM called for a system of “responsible capitalism” to replace the old system of “crony capitalism” that had seen bankers accruing millions in bonuses despite promises from politicians to curtail them.

“I want this to be the decade of employee share ownership,” said Clegg, stating that too much wealth in the UK is “monopolised by the few” and that Lib Dem ministers are to explore ways of getting employee ownership “into the bloodstream” of the country.

“I don’t value employee ownership because I believe it is somehow ‘nicer’, or more pleasant alternative to the rest of the corporate world.  Those are lazy stereotypes,” said Clegg.

“Firms that have engaged employees, who own a chunk of their company, are just as dynamic, just as savvy, as their competitors. In fact, they often perform better.”

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna accused Mr Clegg of stepping back on plans to give employees a vote on their bosses’ pay.

“The Deputy Prime Minster has failed to support our proposal that an employee be placed on remuneration committees like they are in Germany, Europe’s strongest economy, and in some of our most successful British businesses like John Lewis,” he said. “Presumably, Nick Clegg can’t support employee representation on remuneration committees because David Cameron and George Osborne won’t let him.”

CEO of global private equity investors Hamilton Bradshaw, James Caan has supported the Deputy Prime Minister’s proposals.

“Equity ownership also has an important role to play in Britain’s economic recovery. There are 4.5 million small and medium-sized enterprises employing more than 13 million people in the UK,” said Caan.

“It is within this sector that we will create the majority of new jobs and yet 75% of SME’s are still one-man bands. If equity shares can be used to improve commitments to small companies just think of the potential boost to Britain’s employment levels.”

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