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'Owner-employees' fiddle to go

14 December 2016

The government has abandoned the attempt to spread the concept of “owner-employees”, introduced four years ago by the Coalition government. According to this idea – aimed at creating an even more “flexible” workforce – workers would sell off their employment rights in exchange for shares in their employing company.

The scheme was enacted into law in 2013. Three years later, it was abolished in this year’s Autumn Statement. It turns out that it was taken up by a mere 230 employees from 40 companies.

At the time it was introduced even the employers’ body the CBI was wary, and most observers saw the scheme as a tax fiddle as the shares were exempt from capital gains tax and were more likely to be used as backdoor bonuses for financial employees in the City.