HC Deb 28 February 2002 vol 380 cc1443-4W
Mr. Hoban

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many companies with fewer than(a) 16 and (b) seven employees took advantage of enterprise management incentives in 2000–01. [38517]

Dawn Primarolo

Enterprise management incentives (EMI) were introduced in Finance Act 2000 as part of the Government's productivity and enterprise agenda. They are targeted, tax-advantaged share option incentives to help small companies recruit and retain the staff they need to grow. Until Finance Act 2001 there was a limit of 15 on the number of employees in a company that could be granted EMI options. In Finance Act 2001 that limit was removed and replaced with an overall limit on the value of options granted of £3 million per company.

In January 2002 the gross asset limit, which defines the size of company that can qualify for EMI, was doubled from £15 million to £30 million. The number of people employed by a company is not relevant to the decision on whether it qualifies to grant EMI options and the information requested is not available. However, between 6 April 2000 and 5 April 2001 4,540 options were granted by 807 companies, an average of 5.6 options per company.