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Government picks independent to investigate growing employee ownership

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Norman Lamb, the newly appointed business minister, has appointed Graeme Nuttall as the Government’s independent adviser on employee ownership.

The appointment follows the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg's announcement in January of a new Government drive to introduce the concept of employee ownership into the mainstream British economy.

Norman Lamb is leading the cross-Whitehall work to investigate how Government can support this growing business model, which has seen the number of employee owned companies grow by 25% in two years, from 200 in 2009 to 250 in 2011.

Evidence suggests that employee-ownership models can make a real difference to staff engagement, which in turn generates innovation, increased productivity, lower absenteeism, better industrial relations and improved business performance.

Nuttall, a partner at law firm Field Fisher Waterhouse with extensive experience in this field, will work with Government to identify the barriers to employee ownership and help find the solutions to knock them down. He will make his final recommendations to Government in a report presented to Norman Lamb in the summer.

Lamb said: "I am delighted that Graeme has agreed to act as the Government's adviser on employee share ownership. His knowledge and expertise in this area will be invaluable in supporting me in this important work.

"I look forward to receiving his advice on how we can make it easier for businesses to adopt employee share ownership models, which I believe have the potential to change corporate culture and stimulate a new era of responsible capitalism and sustainable economic growth."

Nuttall added:"This is a great opportunity to give employee ownership business models the prominence they deserve, and to do so on a lasting basis for the benefit of the British economy."

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is now seeking views from employee owned businesses and other stakeholders, for discussion with Nuttall, on:

Specific regulatory barriers or other disincentives to employee ownership * Whether more can be done to raise awareness of employee ownership as a business model * Appropriate incentives to facilitate employee ownership * The most efficient way of becoming employee-owned

Nuttall belonged to the HM Treasury Employee Ownership Advisory Group that helped develop the HM Revenue and Customs approved share incentive plan and enterprise management incentives arrangement. He drafted the Employee Share Schemes Bill, a successful Private Member's Bill. He has developed employee ownership laws abroad and is legal adviser to Employee Ownership Association (formerly Job Ownership Limited). He advises many leading UK employee owned companies. His broad ranging experience also includes helping achieve charity registration for the General Medical Council.

Nuttall's role is advisory, part-time and unpaid and will initially run for three months.