Theresa May is preparing the ground for retreat over her landmark plans to get workers on boards

Mark Sands
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The plan to put workers on boards was one of May's first proposals as Prime Minister (Source: Getty)

Downing Street looks set to pull back on landmark plans to install workers on boards, with both Theresa May and her chancellor Philip Hammond seeming to downplay the reforms.

Forcing firms to hand a seat to workers was one of the first proposals put forward by May following her rise to power over the summer.

However, it was met with a cool response from business, with industry groups hoping to convince May to water down the regime.

Read More: Can boards be improved by worker representation?

And this morning, the Prime Minister will promise to “work with the grain of business and to draw from what works” in a green paper on corporate governance.

It comes after Hammond yesterday told The Andrew Marr Show that any reforms would focus on making sure the views of both workers and consumers are acknowledged by corporates.

"We want to ensure the voices of consumers and workers are heard in the boardrooms and we're having conversations about how that can be achieved,” Hammond said.

Read More: Theresa May promising an "unashamedly pro-business" government

City A.M. revealed earlier this month that the government would launch a consultation on the plans within days, with a range of options set to be put forward.

One likely option will include explicitly linking the plan to May's hopes to tackle excessive salaries, with one non-executive on remuneration committees tasked with representing the views of staff.

The Prime Minister’s ideas for boards have not been the only plan to alarm businesses - this summer home secretary Amber Rudd was forced into a dramatic u-turn over ambitions to “flush out” firms failing to recruit enough UK workers.

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