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George Osborne must not ignore employee share ownership again in the budget, says ifs ProShare

Chancellor George Osborne has today been urged to deliver on promises to make employee share schemes more attractive by making three key policy changes for the employee share plans industry.

Ifs Proshare said over a million employees are saving in a Save-As-You-Earn employee share scheme but the number has been falling year on year and the maximum amount that can be saved in such schemes has not been increased since 1991.

It has also said almost one million UK employees are investing in a Share Incentive Plan (SIP) but the maximum amount that can be saved has not been increased since 2001 when the schemes were first introduced.

The three changes it would like to see implemented are:


  • To raise the amount of money UK workers can save in HMRC approved share plans.
  • To allow private equity backed companies to offer their employees access to HMRC approved share plans.
  • To reduce the amount of time employees must hold shares in a Share Incentive Plan (SIP) from the current five year period to three years - bringing it into line with all other share plans.


An on-going campaign by ifs ProShare over the last few years has secured the backing of influential MPs and Peers from all political parties.

Despite this high level backing the Treasury has refused to take any action to increase the saving limits. Phil Hall, Special Adviser to ifs ProShare said: "On the one hand Government states they want to make share schemes more attractive for employees whilst on the other they say an increase in the savings limits cannot occur because it will make share plans more attractive which has cost implications.

"This contradictory position denies millions of workers the opportunity to save and invest more for their futures."