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On Employee Ownership Day, we need action by the Scottish Government.

On Employee Ownership Day, Paul Sweeney MSP calls for real action from the Scottish Government to deliver their own target of 500 Employee-Owned Businesses in Scotland by 2030.

Today is Employee Ownership Day and I am calling on the Scottish Government to do more to support Employee Ownership.

I was really pleased recently to hear about the Executive Shaving Company a Glasgow-based company which recently became employee-owned. This move protected the jobs of the workers and gave them a meaningful stake in their organisation and a say over how it is run.

The Scottish Government has a target of 500 Employee-Owned businesses in Scotland by 2030. There are currently just over 200, although the Scottish Government is reticent about giving out the exact figures. So, there will need to be a significant increase in the number of employee-owned businesses over the next few years if the 500 target is going to be met.

I know that Co-operative Development Scotland have been supportive of the efforts of businesses to become employee-owned, but much more must be done. I think that the Scottish Government needs to improve its support for Co-operative Development Scotland: if we are serious about promoting employee-owned business and co-operatives, then Co-operative Development Scotland needs to be properly resourced to support the change in the economy that the Scottish Government claims that it wants.

It needs to be much easier for new business start-ups to be created as co-operatives, and also for it to be a more attractive and straightforward option for existing businesses to be converted into co-operative ownership. This is particularly important when existing owners are exiting a business or putting it up for sale, especially as we see so many firms fall into the rapacious grip of debt-loaded private equity takeovers, often by overseas interests. There should also be greater financing options for employees and other stakeholders to buy businesses or subsidiaries of firms that are facing closure or administration. The new Scottish National Investment Bank should consider how it focuses its mission on this opportunity to embed sustainable co-operative ownership.

The theme of today’s Employee Ownership Day is Grow Employee Ownership – and I am calling on the Scottish Government to do just that.


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