Marion Fellows, the SNP’s Westminster Small Business, Enterprise and Innovation spokesperson, has today backed the recommendations of the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee to grow the number of worker-owned and cooperative businesses in Scotland.
The report, released last week, said that “employee-owned companies and co-operatives have huge potential to improve productivity, facilitate future growth, reduce inequality and retain jobs in Scotland”.
The Committee’s recommendation was to ask the Scottish Government to “measure” and “publish transparent targets to grow the number of employee-owned and co-operative businesses being supported”.
The MP said she would write to Cabinet Secretary Keith Brown to encourage him to adopt the Committee’s recommendations on cooperatives.
Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:
“The benefits of employee-ownership and workplace democracy are vital to improve our economy and working lives.
“Workers having control over their business can lead to higher wages, safer conditions, more leisure time and flexibility for parents and carers.
“Having a stake in their workplace motivates people to be more productive and power gives them the ability to innovate.
“For small businesses especially, the cooperative model can be extremely effective. But even in larger businesses we need greater democracy.
“In both cases, finances and services need to be put in place to give people the support to adopt and adapt to the model.
“In future, where owners are selling up – like Dalzell steelworks and BiFab were – worker-ownership needs to be seriously looked at as an option.
“Cooperatives are also more focused on sustainable and inclusive growth here in Scotland and will retain profits to be spent locally or to be reinvested.
“We need to look at innovative models for improving our economy and working lives and I will be writing to Cabinet Secretary Keith Brown to back the Committee’s recommendations.”