Nick Clegg to announce tax break for employee ownership

 

Bosses who sell their companies to their workforce will be rewarded with tax relief under a £50m government plan to be announced by Nick Clegg today.

The Deputy Prime Minister will unveil proposals to boost the number of employee-owned firms as part of his drive to create a “John Lewis economy.” Owners who hand their workers a controlling stake will pay lower capital gains tax, which is normally charged at up to 28 per cent when assets are sold.

Firms in which employees own a significant stake have a combined annual turnover of £30bn, more than 3 per cent  of GDP. Mr Clegg will endorse plans by the  Employee Ownership Association to raise this  to 10 per cent of GDP by 2020. 

Speaking in London, he will say: "My goal in government is to help lay the foundations for a stronger economy and a fairer society and employee ownership helps do both. We know our economy needs to be rewired to properly assess and share risk, to properly motivate and reward workers and to think for the long term.”

George Osborne, who included the £50m fund in last week’s Budget, came under fire yesterday over his plans to boost home ownership after the Office for Budgetary Responsibility (OBR) warned they could raise house prices in the short term and suggested they would not tackle housing shortages.

The Chancellor defended his plans when he was quizzed by the all-party Treasury Select Committee.  Andrew Tyrie, its Conservative chairman, asked him: "You are not concerned that we are just ploughing money back into the boom-bust property cycle?" 

Mr Osborne replied: “"I don't detect that we are in the middle of a housing boom. I think we are in a very unusual situation after the financial crisis. Families are being priced out of the housing market and that is neither economically right nor socially fair."

The Chancellor insisted his £12bn plan to guarantee mortgages by helping buyers raise their deposit would be time-limited to three years. He refused to promise a ban on allowing people to use the scheme to buy a second home, despite Labour branding it a “spare home subsidy for millionaires.”

Mr Osborne said  families sometimes had two mortgages for a limited period when couples divorced or people moved to a new area to take up a job. “The absolutely clear intention of the scheme is to help people buy their first home or move home as their family grows,” he said.

The Chancellor said: “Mortgages and the availability of mortgages are not just a demand issue they’re also a supply issue. It’s difficult for builders to build new homes if they’re not sure there are people out there who can afford them.”

But the OBR’s Steve Nickell told the committee “The key issue is, is it just going to drive up house prices? By and large in the short run, the answer to that is yes. But in the medium term, will the increased house prices stimulate more house building? And our general answer to that would probably be a bit, but the historical evidence would suggest not very much.”

Mr Osborne said the Treasury’s long-standing  practice of pre-briefing Budget measures to selected media outlets "clearly can't continue" in the same way, after the London Evening Standard’s front page, including details of last week’s package, appeared on Twitter before his Commons statement.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk