Published On: Thu, Mar 2nd, 2017

Business group calls for change to schemes giving tax breaks to 'select few'


Co-operatives UK, which represents thousands of operations run as co-ops, has called on to use next week’s Budget to change the system. 

The group says in its pre-Budget submission to the Treasury that 40,000 top executives are being handed tax perks worth £220 million a year. 

Co-operatives UK says that two discretionary share schemes, the Company Share Option Plan and Enterprise Management Incentive, give breaks to a “select few” employees as part of their remuneration packages. 

The organisation says the schemes allow executives to buy heavily discounted shares without having to pay income tax or national insurance. 

Co-operatives UK general secretary Ed Mayo said: “Why is the public purse sweetening the deal for these high earners? Public funds would be better spent supporting workers to establish worker-owned business, allowing many workers to create new jobs for themselves or secure existing ones. 

“The UK could use the annual tax concessions for employee share ownership, currently dominated by those on high incomes, in a far more fair way to promote an inclusive economy – piloting solutions that give low- and middle-income workers more of a stake in the economy, for example, or supporting employee buyouts to help address the country’s looming business succession crisis. 

“If we want a fairer economy that works for low and medium earners as well as high earners, we have to create a more level playing field. 

“Incentivised schemes which only offer perks for the rich few must be scrapped or the gap between the rich and poor in our country will continue to grow. 

“There are simple solutions to the problem such as closing schemes that offer publicly funded tax breaks to the elite few.” 



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