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John Lewis encourages employee ownership in new report

The UK should push for more employee-owned businesses to grow the economy and offer staff satisfaction, a John Lewis-backed report said today.

Think tank Centre for London compiled the report, entitled ‘Local Owners’, which looked at ways to increase the numbers of businesses owned by their staff.

John Lewis is the UK’s biggest such company, with 82,000 employees holding a stake in the business. It sponsored the report, and chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield said there is “unprecedented interest from both the public and private sectors” in employee ownership schemes.

“There has been tremendous progress over the last year or so and we hope that it will encourage more companies to pass their business onto their staff and help create a more plural and balanced economy,” he said.

Companies where employees own a significant stake in the company account for a combined annual turnover in excess of £25bn, more than 2% of GDP, according to the Employee Ownership Association.

The report argued while recent tax reforms have helped to make the ownership model more attractive, a “decisive shift” of focus by the government to push employee ownership is needed.

The report recommended creating seed funds and mentoring for gifted employees. Building up tools and programmes for employees to adopt, and organising events to share knowledge is also necessary, it said.

Research manager at Centre for London, Sam Sims, said: “Firms that are employee-owned are more resilient, more productive and have higher levels of job satisfaction. This report provides a blueprint to help develop employee-owned businesses, and a better business culture.”

You can access the report here.

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