To refresh your memory, last month Clegg called for, “an automatic opportunity for every employee to seek to enter into a share scheme, enjoying the tax benefits that come with it, taking what for many people might seem out of their reach, and turning it into a routine decision.”
The idea is to create a ‘John Lewis economy’ where everyone in the private sector has the opportunity to benefit from success that is derived from their labour.
Setting aside fairly stark questions about how the scheme could work in practice, Real Business readers are split nearly down the middle about whether it’s a good idea or not, with 43 per cent in support of, and 57 per cent against, the proposal.
But now James Caan, owner of private equity group Hamilton Bradshaw and fresh from a stint on TV show Dragons’ Den, has leant his endorsement to the deputy prime minister, claiming that shares are part of the incentive package offered to HB staff.
He said that equity allocations improve staff loyalty, reduces absenteeism and keeps people “engaged”. He added: “From an employer’s point-of-view including equity shares as part of an employment package can be the difference between a good offer and a compelling one.”
Other employers backing the call include Campbell MacDonald, a director at Baxi Partnership, which provides funding to companies that want to become employee owned. Meanwhile Paul Randall, partner at law firm Ashurst, has also leant his support.
“Share plans for all employees are long overdue for a boost,” he said. “All the research indicates that employee-share ownership is good for employees, good for organisations and so good for the economy as a whole.”
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