Ownership Diversity and the Resilient Economy

Speakers include:
Tristram Hunt MP
Iain Hasdell, Chief Executive Officer, Employee Ownership Association
John Lewis Partnership Representative
Ian Mulheirn, Director, SMF, Chair

Tuesday 12 March 2013, 12.45-14.00
A sandwich lunch will be provided
SMF, 11 Tufton Street, Westminster, London, SW1P 3QB

There is growing evidence that the UK’s economy could benefit from more diverse business ownership structures. Numerous problems have been identified with the dominant PLC model, including excessive executive pay, low shareholder engagement, and the short-termism highlighted by Professor John Kay and Sir George Cox.

In addition, the Ownership Commission and the Nuttall Review have argued that there are other benefits to a more diverse range of firm types. Evidence from the Cass Business School suggests that economies with more diverse business structures – cooperatives, family-owned firms and mutuals, alongside PLCs – prove more resilient to economic shocks.

In light of the apparent benefits of diversity, there is an on-going debate about what government might do to foster it. The Treasury is currently looking at the tax treatment of alternative business structures. Discussion has focused in particular on Employee Benefit Trusts.

This lunchtime discussion will address three central questions:

  • How strong is the economic case for greater diversity of corporate ownership structures?
  • How far does the tax system affect the make-up of business structures in the UK economy?
  • What, if anything, should the Government do to promote diversity through tax reform?