Clegg: Employees should be offered company ownership

The Momentum UK Team 16 January 2012

Nick Clegg is to launch a campaign today urging companies to offer shares to their employees as a way of boosting staff productivity and business growth.

According to Clegg, employees should be given a new 'Right to Request' shares in the company they work for.

Companies will be given incentives such as tax breaks if they are to offer a "John Lewis economy" - the department store whose employees hold a major stake in the company and to whom profits are distributed.

In an event hosted by the City of London Corporation and Centre Forum think tank later today, Nick Clegg is due to give a speech calling for 'responsible capitalism'.

He will say: "We don't believe our problem is too much capitalism - we think it's that too few people have capital.

"We need more individuals to have a real stake in their firms. More of a John Lewis economy, if you like."

"And what many people don't realise about employee ownership is that it is a hugely underused tool in unlocking growth.

"I don't value employee ownership because I believe it is somehow 'nicer' - a more pleasant alternative to the rest of the corporate world. Those are lazy stereotypes.

"Firms that have engaged employees, who own a chunk of their company, are just as dynamic, just as savvy, as their competitors. In fact, they often perform better."

The speech comes as city banks prepare top executives pay packages and after increasing public anger over excessive pay and bankers' bonuses.

It is hoped the proposed move to share-holder ownership will see more power being handed out to employees over how much executives can get paid.

David Cameron is to also deliver a speech later on in the week regarding "crony" capitalism.

Business Secretary Vince Cable will announce the government's full proposals and final outline of boardroom reforms next week.

A round up of Clegg's four key principles to be announced later today: