Is business minister Norman Lamb’s plan for more employee owned ‘John Lewis’ style businesses the right way to go?

Business minister Norman Lamb has confirmed government action to knock down the barriers that stop more British businesses from becoming employee-owned.

Mr Lamb and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg are keen to create more 'John Lewis' style business where staff have a greater say in the business.

The announcement follows a six-month review by Graeme Nuttall, the Government's independent advisor on employee ownership.

The Norfolk MP was recently joined by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at a summit in London where the announcement was made. The summit was attended by employee-owned businesses and groups from the sector. Law and accountancy firms, professional bodies, business advisors, academics, banks and policymakers were also there.

Under the plans an independent, expert Institute for Employee Ownership will be established as a professional body to provide information and advice for businesses. New off-the-shelf 'DIY packs' for companies will cover legal, tax and other considerations and enable companies to adopt employee owned business models quickly and easily. Finally, the Government has launched a call for evidence on how a 'Right to Request' employee ownership could work in practice.

Mr Lamb, the minister responsible for employee ownership, said: 'People have been horrified by the greed and short-term thinking which led to the financial crash of 2008 and want to see a more responsible capitalism.

'The evidence shows that employee-owned firms are more productive, have weathered the recession better and have smaller gaps between pay at the top and ordinary workers.

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'These steps are a key milestone in the development of what I consider a very important and growing part of the economy.

'Graeme's report sets the immediate agenda and we must now respond - both in Government and the employee ownership community - to deliver the work needed to create a successful, flourishing and growing employee owned sector.'