HC Deb 25 June 1997 vol 296 cc833-4
10. Mr. MacShane

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will encourage the growth of employee share ownership plans as a contribution to economic policy in developing countries. [3864]

Mr. Foulkes

We are already supporting employee share ownership plans in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and will certainly encourage their consideration in developing countries as one of the range of options available for the ownership of assets.

Mr. MacShane

I am grateful to the Minister for his reply. He will be aware that developing countries and the ex-communist states are trying to develop a market economy without capital and without capitalists. As, in a sense, we are all capitalists now, do not employee share ownership schemes offer a third way between the excess of the plc and the nonsense of state control? Will he continue to encourage them as part of his Department's economic thinking?

Mr. Foulkes

I agree with most of what my hon. Friend said. He will know that the benefits of ESOPs include increased work effort from employee share holders, better communication between workers and managers and less conflictive decision making. It might be a good structure for the parliamentary Conservative party.