Charlie Mayfield headed up the discussion by stating that business owners need to rethink how they run and own their companies, and that the employee ownership model implemented at John Lewis wasn't to everyone's taste despite his beliefs that an ownership stake would engage employees and boost productivity.
Lord Glasman then intervened, praising John Lewis as a family founded business that was built on trust and that giving people a stake in the enterprise in which they work with more responsibility would lead employees to be more committed to the role. However, Glasman agreed with a point raised by Julie that employee owned businesses run better in small sized companies.
When asked whether capitalism needs winners and losers, Julie suggested that whilst this is inevitable we can make it more equitable so that the loss is not as desperate. Likewise, when there is a big win people make money, they set up businesses, and they do positive things with that money. Julie also noted that its not just about having a stake in the ownership but that young people are increasingly setting up their own businesses and want to be the owner themselves.
In terms of how government can help, Lamb mentioned that there is a lack of awareness and that there should be a right of request to have an employee share scheme. Lamb said he would like ownership applied to the post office whilst maintaining a public service ethos, and that profitable businesses is about getting the best out of your staff.
Julie then spoke once more on her own company, Ariadne Capital, in which she shares ownership with her management team. She also stated 'We're not just employees and employers, we are also consumers in a marketplace and citizens in an economy and when business is profitable that has benefits to everybody.'
Charlie Mayfield concluded the discussion by stating; 'When people talk about business as a third person they will often say bad things about it - when they talk about the business they work for they will say good things. Growth is an issue and ownership will help but employee ownership is suited best into small to medium sized enterprises.
The overall theme of the discussion was that Britiain need to bluntly rethink how capitalism works in order to prosper and strengthen our economy, with employee ownership providing a possible solution.
If you would like to watch this discussion, click here.