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Small Businesses: Employee Ownership

Question for Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

UIN 32474, tabled on 24 March 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps he has taken to promote the take-up of employee ownership schemes by small and medium-sized businesses in each nation of the UK.

Answered on

12 April 2016

In 2012, the previous Government asked Graeme Nuttall to advise on what more could be done to increase the number of businesses with employee ownership. The Nuttall Review identified 28 recommendations to address three main constraints: lack of awareness of the concept; lack of resources to support the model; and actual or perceived legal, tax and other regulatory barriers. The action taken to address the recommendations is explained in the ‘The Nuttall Review of Employee Ownership - One Year On’ report published in November 2013 and available on the website.

The Government now expects the private sector to make the business case for this model through organisations such as the Employee Ownership Association – the representative body for employee-owned businesses.

Ongoing encouragement for employee ownership is provided through four approved share schemes which have tax-advantages for both employees and employers. These are the Company Share Option Plan (CSOP), Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI), Save As You Earn (SAYE) and Share Incentive Plan (SIP) which are administered by HMRC. In 2013-14 the total value of shares and options awarded under these schemes was around £3.45bn with over £1bn of income tax and national insurance relief given.

Answered by

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills