May drops mandatory workers on boards plan, as she recruits private equity grandee Buffini for long-term capital review

 
Mark Sands
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The plan to install workers on company boards was one of May's first policy announcements as Prime Minister (Source: Getty)

Theresa May has confirmed that the government will not force firms to put workers on boards, as she announced that former private equity grandee Sir Damon Buffini has been recruited to a review on barriers to long-term investment.

Ministers have been hinting that plans to put workers on boards were being watered down, and today May told an audience that the CBI that while the voices of workers should be represented, “this is not about mandating works councils, or the direct appointment of workers or trade union representatives on boards”.

The government is expected to consult on the plans through a green paper imminently.

Read More: May: UK will offer lowest corporation tax in the G20

May also revealed that Buffini would lead a team of experts working with the Treasury to identify barriers to investment.

A former business adviser to Gordon Brown, Buffini stepped down after 27 years at Permira in late 2015.

“There is no point having great ideas, great products, great start ups, if you can’t get the investment you need to grow your business here,” May said.

“For while the UK ranks 3rd in the OECD for the number of start-ups we create, we are only 13th for the number that go on to become scale-up businesses.”

Read More: Tech-tastic: May pledges billions to support tech champions

Similarly, the Prime Minister also revealed the government has recruited Cambridge entrepreneur David Connell to lead a review of the government's small business research initiative – a programme launched last year to connect opportunities through public support of research and development at small firms.

Connell will report back to the government on how it can help further drive innovation through procurement next year.

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