Friday, 26 October 2012

Say No to 'Beecroft by the back door' and reclaim Employee Ownership

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice
I've been away for a few days but emails have kept me in touch with the debate that has been going on about Osborne's proposal to sully Employee Ownership. It will have escaped few readers notice that Martin Horwood MP has signed the open letter published on LibDem Voice which was very critical of the idea that employees should swap their rights for minimal ownership options. I am confident that Martin is not the only Lib Dem parliamentarian to oppose this nonsense.

I posted yesterday that there would be a parliamentary vote on this matter and I thought it worthwhile to give  a separate posting to a comment I received from Carole:

New status of employee owner? What about the existing 100 000+ employee owners in the UK? All with an ownership stake in their companies and full employment contracts. The proposal is quite insulting to these employee owners and I hope the Lib Dems - always so vocal in their support of the model - make their voices heard and shape this policy into something that will deliver benefit to the sector.

Osborne's proposals miss the basic principle that underpins the success of employee owned businesses. Because there is no external shareholders to pander to, the firm can focus on building a prosperous business for the future. It is this long term view that leads to increased innovation, investment in people and employee and customer satisfaction. The proposal as it stands ignores this completely and actually encourages hire and fire which is the antipathy of longtermism.

There is a place for the proposed model in British business, and I can see its merits, perhaps for high tech start ups. But let's be quite clear, it's not employee ownership.

Carole Leslie has written more about this on her blog

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