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Co-operative movement thrives


08 Jun 16

A new report from Co-operatives UK shows that one third of the UK adult population are now members of a co-operative.

Membership of co-operatives has reached a record 17.5 million people, having surged by more than 14% over the last five years.

The report also finds that co-operatives employ 223,000 people across the country and contribute over £34 billion a year to the economy.

The report recognises the significant role the credit union movement has played in the growth of the wider co-operative sector. British credit union membership has doubled over the last decade to more than 1.2 million, while the sector’s assets have trebled to more than £1.3 billion.

Secretary General of Co-operatives UK Ed Mayo said: "As the UK economy picks up, we need to ensure what develops is an economy that works for everyone. The co-operative sector, which is giving people a say over their work, shops and local areas is looking strong for the future and points the way.

"Alongside this solid commercial performance, there has been a surge in the number of people who own and control the UK’s co-operatives. With 17.5 million members owning everything from high street retailers to credit unions, the co-operative sector is the largest open membership organisation in the UK."

Secretary of State for Business, Innovations and Skills Sajid Javid MP welcomed the report saying: "Co-operative business groups have long been a part of Britain’s rich commercial history, encouraging diversity and promoting responsible capitalism. From credit unions to community cafes, they create jobs, provide important services and add £34 billion to the British economy.

"I was born in Rochdale, where the ideals of co-operative governance were first crafted, so the role of business in the community has always been an issue close to my heart. When people take a stake in businesses that matter to them, we see greater engagement, increased productivity and more innovation. Co-operatives should be incredibly proud of the work they do across the country."

You can read the co-operative economy 2016 report here.

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