UK Government urged to follow Scotland’s praised lead on employee ownership – another 8% story?


From Insider, yesterday:

Scotland has been praised for leading the way in its approach and commitment to growing the popularity of employee ownership. The independent Ownership Effect Inquiry, led by the Employee Ownership Association, found a scheme driven by economic development agency Co-operative Development Scotland had helped deliver a “tenfold return on investment for every £1 devoted to on-the-ground support”. And it recommended that the UK Government echo the scheme’s success.’


The number of employee-owned businesses in Scotland has trebled to around 100 in the past five years with around 7 000 employee-owners and generating around £940 million.

Back in January, Insider reported that it’s estimated that there are around 300 employee-owned businesses in the UK and that almost one-third are in Scotland.

Insider offered two reasons for Scotland having proportionally more of them:

  1. The Nuttall Review identified two key obstacles to the wider adoption of employee ownership: lack of awareness and lack of practical support.
  2. Co-operative Development Scotland has undertaken some sterling work with advisers, evidenced by the amount of interest shown at its January 2018 seminar. The expert help provided by Co-operative Development Scotland goes a long way to support businesses, and importantly the employees, through the process.

Unless there’s been a surge in the non-Scottish parts of the UK, unlikely under this government, then it’s still around 33% of the employee-owned businesses with only 8% of the population.

The 8% meme is like a cultural gene and I’ve been using the idea to tell us something about Scotland and, in particular, that it is different enough from Tory England in terms of dominant values, to justify wanting to run our own show according to those values. Here are some earlier examples where I use the 8%:

8% of the UK population and 28% of living wage employers. More evidence that we are different enough to want to run the whole show?

Scotland takes nearly 26% of Syrian refugees settled in UK with only 8% of the UK population

Here are some others where I’m making the same point without mentioning the 8% specifically:

80 000 lowest paid workers in NHS England still on poverty wages as NHS Scotland follows Scottish Government policy to pay a living wage to all public-sector employees

Scottish care workers to receive Living Wage for ‘sleepover’ hours while English care workers receive only the National Minimum Wage.

Scottish Government to fight alongside UN to defend disabled against Tory cuts.

The evidence builds and builds. Surely a tipping-point is coming soon.


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