Clause 1 - Employee share ownership plans

Part of Employee Share Schemes Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 27th February 2002.

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Photo of Mark Lazarowicz Mark Lazarowicz Labour/Co-operative, Edinburgh North and Leith 10:30 am, 27th February 2002

As the hon. Gentleman will appreciate, we need to strike a balance between the wish to see an eventual distribution of shares and the wish to encourage the development of employee share schemes in the way proposed in the Bill. It is fair to say that the interests lead in different directions. For distributions, a short time limit would be appropriate. For the ease of the business involved, a longer time limit would be appropriate. The issue is where to place the cut-off point. The specific provision in sub-paragraph (3) of the amendment makes it clear that a fairer deduction is allowed after the end of the period, if the shares are later distributed. That takes account of the example of the company that might have understandable technical or business difficulties of the type that the hon. Gentleman suggests. That provision is probably the best compromise that can be achieved between the different objectives that are being pursued.