B863 - Worker Cooperative Grants Bill 2015 (Third Reading) Watch

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Birchington
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B863 - Worker Cooperative Grants Bill 2015 (Third Reading), TSR Labour Party


Worker Cooperative Grants Bill 2015
An act to encourage the creation of Worker Cooperatives.
BE IT ENACTED by the Queen's most excellent Majesty, in accordance with the provisions of the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-


SECTION 1: DEFINITIONS
(1) “Worker Cooperative” is defined as a business entity which is owned and controlled by the employees/members of the business.
(2) "Additional Instalment" is defined as an instalment of a Worker Cooperative Grant given after the original instalment.

SECTION 2: WORKER COOPERATIVE GRANTS
(1) £50 million shall be made available in grants for new Worker Cooperatives.
i. This shall be called the 'Worker Cooperative Grant Fund'.
The Secretary of State with responsibility for business shall be able to increase the Worker Cooperative Grant Fund to up to £100 million at their discretion.
(2) The maximum grant available to each firm shall be capped at £750,000.

SECTION 3: APPLICATIONS FOR GRANTS
(1) A 'Worker Cooperative Grant Board' headed by the Minister of State with responsibility for business shall be created to handle applications for the Grants and organise the distribution of the Worker Cooperative Grant Fund.
i. The Minister of State with responsibility for business shall be on the Worker Cooperative Grant Board.
ii. New grants must be approved by a minimum of two-thirds of the Worker Cooperative Grant Board.
iii. Decisions will take into account the business plan of a Worker Cooperative which must be presented as well as the potential risk of fraudulent activities by members.
iv. Responsibility for appointing members of the Worker Cooperative Grant Board will be made by the Secretary of State with responsibility for Business.
v. A position on the Worker Cooperative Grant Board shall be an unpaid role.
(2) Both the Secretary of State with responsibility for business shall be able to replace members of the board should there be sufficient evidence of malpractice.

SECTION 4: ELIGIBILITY FOR GRANTS
(1) To be eligible for any grant under the provisions of this Act a firm must register or be registered as "a co-operative society" under the Co-operative and Community Benefits Act 2014.
i. To receive a grant of over £100,000 a Cooperative must have a minimum of 10 members.
ii. To receive a grant of over £200,000 a cooperative must have a minimum of 20 members.
iii. To receive a grant of over £300,000 a cooperative must have a minimum of 30 members.
(2) To be eligible for any grant under the provisions of this Act a firm must not have members who
i. have previously been declared bankrupt
ii. have been found guilty under the Fraud Act 2006
iii. are on the Worker Cooperative Grant Board or are immediate family members of individuals on the Working Cooperative Grant Board.

SECTION 5: DISTRIBUTION OF GRANTS
(1) Grants of over £100,000 shall be distributed in a minimum of 2 instalments as decided by the Worker Cooperative Grant Board.
(2) Before the distribution of an additional instalment a review shall be carried out by the Worker Cooperative Grant Board to decide whether to continue giving instalments to a Worker Cooperative.
(i) This decision shall be based on whether the performance of a Worker Cooperative has been satisfactory and whether there is any risk of potential fraudulent behaviour by members.

SECTION 6: COMMENCEMENT, SHORT TITLE AND EXTENT
(1) This Act may be cited as the Worker Cooperative Grant Act 2015.
(2) This Act shall extend to the United Kingdom; and
(3) Shall come into force on 1st April 2016.

Notes Worker Cooperatives are a method of offering employees more control over decision making within their business and an effective way of increasing productivity as each worker owns a portion of the business. This will also aid the economic recovery by encouraging the creation of sustainable businesses.

Useful Links:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/14/contents

Changes made for 3rd Reading
  • Increase in the amount of money available and the maximum grant to enable larger cooperatives to be set up.
  • Introduction of a required amount of people to achieve a grant to ensure the venture is more sustainable and making it ineligible to have a person who has previously been declared bankrupt or found guilty of fraudulent activities within the cooperative to protect the Government finance.
  • Introduction of a Worker Cooperative Grants Board to make effective decisions on who to award the grants to. Introduction of an instalment system to minimise potential losses from fraudulent cooperative members.
  • Changes to spelling/wording/grammar that do not affect the substance of the bill.
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Aph
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Surely friends and family should be excluded?
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cranbrook_aspie
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Aye, workers' co-operatives have a lot of potential and should be encouraged.
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RayApparently
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Aye.

I look forward to hearing the views of the House and thank members for helping us build on a good idea to create what I personally feel is a solid framework for encouraging the creation and development of prosperous, democratic worker cooperatives.
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United1892
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(Original post by Aph)
Surely friends and family should be excluded?
From what?
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Aph
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(Original post by United1892)
From what?
4. (2) iii
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United1892
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(Original post by Aph)
4. (2) iii
Possibly, it's hard to identify friends however.
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RayApparently
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(Original post by United1892)
Possibly, it's hard to identify friends however.
My thoughts exactly. I don't want to see this bill become too restrictive.
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Aph
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(Original post by United1892)
Possibly, it's hard to identify friends however.
But an estranged family member being banned but a close friend not is rediculous.

Also, close family must be defined.
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RayApparently
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For the record immediate family members are legally defined. But this definition can be included in the bill as well if it would please the House.
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Andy98
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Aye

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username1524603
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No, the members on the panel will have no incentive to scrutinise companies before investing because it is not their money to invest, nor is there compensation for work; the unpaid appointments will approve all applications without scrutiny as it makes no difference to them. The bill should include panel members of the highest business acumen with pay linked to the success of investments to encourage proper scrutiny of the businesses.
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Wellzi
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Still a no. I find the entire premise to be flawed.
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James Milibanter
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Aye
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Actaeon
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Given the improvements, I'm happy to give this an Aye, well done to the author(s).
I'd really like to see the board members paid though. People shouldn't be expected to work for the government for free, it's verging on exploitation. In order to get experienced able staff, and help prevent then from becoming vulnerable to bribes, they should receive remuneration for what would be quite skilled work.
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thehistorybore
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No.
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TheDefiniteArticle
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Still don't think the Bill's perfect but aye.
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PetrosAC
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(Original post by Actaeon)
Given the improvements, I'm happy to give this an Aye, well done to the author(s).
I'd really like to see the board members paid though. People shouldn't be expected to work for the government for free, it's verging on exploitation. In order to get experienced able staff, and help prevent then from becoming vulnerable to bribes, they should receive remuneration for what would be quite skilled work.
Agreed.

But an aye regardless

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RayApparently
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(Original post by Nigel Farage MEP)
No, the members on the panel will have no incentive to scrutinise companies before investing because it is not their money to invest, nor is there compensation for work; the unpaid appointments will approve all applications without scrutiny as it makes no difference to them. The bill should include panel members of the highest business acumen with pay linked to the success of investments to encourage proper scrutiny of the businesses.
(Original post by Actaeon)
Given the improvements, I'm happy to give this an Aye, well done to the author(s).
I'd really like to see the board members paid though. People shouldn't be expected to work for the government for free, it's verging on exploitation. In order to get experienced able staff, and help prevent then from becoming vulnerable to bribes, they should receive remuneration for what would be quite skilled work.
Fair comments - something to consider before the vote.
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Birchington
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This is in cessation.
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