Shares for workers Bill backed by MPs

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Indy Politics

A bill to extend schemes offering staff shares in the company that employs them received unopposed backing from MPs.

Mark Lazarowicz, Labour MP for Edinburgh North and Leith, proposed the Private Member's Bill to increase tax breaks for workers' share schemes and make it easier for employees to buy out their employers.

The Employee Share Scheme Bill, which was first put forward by the Co-operative movement, has the backing of the TUC and the Industrial Society. Government support will be needed for it to become law because of a lack of parliamentary time.

Mr Lazarowicz said: "The wider the degree of employee ownership and employee control, the better the results for the businesses and for the employees.

"This Bill, if passed, would be a modest but significant measure to promote active employee ownership."

He added: "All the evidence is that employee control, whether by means of employee share ownership, or other methods such as the traditional worker co-operative, brings real benefits to the businesses which introduce them and to their employees."

The measure would extend tax benefits of employee share ownership, in particular to firms that give their staff a role in decision-making including the John Lewis Partnership and the Arup Group,

David Lidington, a shadow Treasury Minister, said: "It is good for employees to have a material stake in the success of their employer.

"Companies themselves benefit when they are able to unlock the enthusiasm, creativity and ideas of their own workforce."

Edward Davey, for the Liberal Democrats, said: "This legislation is not about giving a quick buck or a quick profit to employees. The objective is to make sure the interests and visions of employees and employers come together for the future benefit of the company and economy."