Workers to give up rights for shares in Osborne plan

Workers are to be given the opportunity to give up employment rights in return for shares in their company, Chancellor George Osborne announced today.

The new "employee-owners" will receive between £2,000 and £50,000 of shares that will be exempt from capital gains tax when sold, and in return will give up rights on unfair dismissal, redundancy and the right to request flexible working and time off for training.

Chancellor George Osborne during his speech today Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Announcing the policy to the Conservative annual conference in Birmingham, Mr Osborne said it would appeal to new businesses starting up and small and medium-sized firms who need flexible labour and highly motivated staff.

But aides said the voluntary scheme will be open to any limited company. They expect hundreds of thousands of employees to sign up within the next few years, at a cost to the Treasury of around £100 million in lost capital gains tax by 2017/18, and growing in subsequent years.