Small business gives thumbs down to new share schemes

New all employee share plan and enterprise management incentive schemes revealedby chancellor Gordon Brown in his March budget were criticised as a boon for bigrather than small business.

More than 100 top representatives from the small business community at apost-budget seminar organised by accountants Horwath Clark Whitehall gavetheir thumbs down to the share proposals.

Delegates claimed that ASEPs and EMIs were both short of the target for theirsectors’ needs.

Small businesses have taken umbrage with the need for non-quoted companies toset up trusts that will buy and sell shares to employees on their behalf.

And the need to agree the value of a company with the Inland Revenue has beenbranded as ‘complex and time consuming’ for family and owner managed firms.

All employee schemes will require companies to ‘lock in’ their employees forseveral years before they are allowed to find more efficient tax avenues fortheir shares.

Business mobility typical in the FOMB sector could also be restricted by the allemployee share plans.

Head of HCW’s Employers’ advisory group, David Daly, said: ‘On the surface theseschemes seem complex and I can understand why they do not appeal to the smallbusiness community.’

He went on to urge family owner-managed businesses to ‘dismiss them out ofhand.’

However, he added: ‘The schemes if implemented and maintained correctly can be avaluable recruitment tool and can help to reduce employee turnover by motivatingstaff, in turn bringing down recruitment costs.’

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