MORE employees should be owning the companies they work for.
That’s the view of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who wants to see the UK get a bigger employee-owned private sector.
Mr Clegg uses the example of department store owner John Lewis - which is owned by its workforce - to promote employee ownership. He was responding to the Nuttall Review of Employee Ownership.
Mr Clegg said: “I was going to begin by saying that while the protestors may have left the steps of St Pauls, while responsible capitalism may have temporarily dropped down the political agenda, it would only be a matter of time until another corporate scandal brought it back to the top.
“Then, lo and behold, the Libor scandal in the banking sector made my point for me. A timely reminder that our economy desperately needs an injection of responsibility; greater checks on unaccountable power; power in more hands.
“It’s not enough to talk about a new kind of capitalism: more balanced, more sustainable, fairer. We need to roll up our sleeves and build it.”
Mr Clegg says employee owned firms have lower levels of absenteeism, higher productivity and growth rates, smaller gaps between the pay at the top and ordinary workers and are more sustainable, too.
The government is supporting the establishment of an Institute for Employee Ownership to help the business model get more of a presence.
Mr Clegg is also keen on giving employees the right to request a stake in a businesses.
The government has also said it will produce a DIY kit for employee owned firms by the end of September.
Andrew Leck, head of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, said: “There are many competitive advantages of employee ownership including greater employee engagement and commitment. All business owners realise the important role that employees play in the success of a business, and they also know the cost of having a disengaged workforce.
“Employee ownership can help make a business even more successful. Business owners should not be put off exploring the benefits of ownership.”