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More action needed from the employee ownership sector and stakeholders in 2014

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United Kingdom

Following 18 months of support from Jo Swinson, BIS and sector bodies such as the Employee Ownership Association, there is greater awareness in the UK of the concept of employee ownership.

"I have every expectation that when we look back at 2013 we will recognise it as having laid the foundations for a thriving and growing employee ownership sector in the UK." (Jo Swinson, Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs in the Foreword to the Nuttall Review One Year On Report).

Following 18 months of support from Jo Swinson, a team at BIS and sector bodies such as the Employee Ownership Association, there is greater awareness in the UK of the concept of employee ownership ("EO"). Supporters of EO will be encouraged that all 28 recommendations put forward in the Nuttall Review have been acted upon to some extent and that, on over half, progress has been assessed as significant.  Graeme Nuttall and Jennifer Martin from Fieldfisher explain more in an article just published by LexisNexis Company Secretary's Review called "Employee Ownership: One Year On".

The One Year On Report published in November 2013 by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills ("BIS") explains that the momentum to promote EO must be maintained.  It contains a checklist from Graeme Nuttall to help determine if EO in the UK will flourish.  BIS will hold regular stakeholder meetings to assess where matters stand against this "health check" and to determine what further work is needed.

As Graeme Nuttall explains in his blog article, Death, taxes and everything – employee ownership in 2014, there are various initiatives already underway one of which is that the EO sector has an opportunity to let the Government know of any changes in non-tax regulations that will help employee ownership. 

Several ideas were mentioned in the Nuttall Review that did not become formal recommendations; relating to, for example, policy concerning Government contracting, insolvency laws, accounting standards and financing EO and EO advice. Should any of these ideas now be taken forward? Was anything missed during the Nuttall Review or was it correct to conclude that employee-owned companies did not consider themselves disproportionately disadvantaged?

Before the EO sector focuses on this year’s new tax reliefs, it should let BIS know if are there any remaining non-tax regulations that have a disproportionate impact on businesses that either want to adopt EO or are already employee-owned (including co-operatives), and that should be changed.

The call for evidence closes on 19 February 2014.

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