SCOTLAND'S voluntary organisations are pushing for more employee-owned businesses, believing they will improve the country's economy and community wellbeing.

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) says the economy presently does not serve the poorest well and believes collective prosperity should become an end goal of the nation's economic future.

But the SCVO, the national body representing the interests of charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises, in a new report, An Economy for All, also suggests improvements can be made to the economy and communities by making radical changes to the way firms are run.

It says recent research shows that employee-owned businesses increase the wellbeing of workers and have wider benefits to society including reduction in crime levels, increased social cohesion, greater civic engagement, better health and longer lives.

The SCVO says the firms perform better economically too, creating more jobs and sustaining employment through recession. It says that they are also better at spreading wealth more widely across social groups and providing stable, sustainable work.

The report says: "Whether we move to fully-fledged co-operatives or some other form of employee-owned business, making employee-owned business the norm would alter our economy.

"Shifting ownership and how surpluses are retained and spent and shared would be a radical restructure of how we run the economy.

"Removing any legislative and regulatory barriers, using tax incentives and levelling the playing-field and helping to spread what works could encourage a move to employee-owned business."