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New report shows co-operative growth

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27 Jun 17

A new report from Co-operatives UK shows Britain’s co-operative sector continues to grow.

The co-operative economy 2017 report found that 700,000 new members have joined co-operatives across the UK – such as retail co-ops, farming co-ops, community-owned businesses and credit unions – in the last year. This takes total membership to a record 13.6 million people, including almost 1.7 million credit union members across Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The study also shows that the country’s 7,000 independent co-operatives turned over £36 billion last year and employ 226,000 staff.

The report argues that the appetite for user and employee ownership of businesses is growing, pointing to survey data from YouGov which shows that people want more of a say over the economy. Two thirds of respondents said they feel that they have no control over the economy, and only a quarter said they can influence either their workplace or their local area.

Secretary General of Co-operatives UK Ed Mayo said: “Underlying the political shocks the country has experienced over the last year is a call from many parts of the UK population for an economy over which they have more of a say and from which they get a fair share.

“As organisations owned by 13.6 million people, the UK’s 7,000 co-ops give people a say in what they do and how their profits are used. They offer a practical way to reimagine an economy in which people have more control over their homes, work and local areas.”

ABCUL Chief Executive Mark Lyonette said: “The fact that credit unions are owned, democratically controlled and run solely in the interests of the people who use them is a major attraction to many consumers looking for a financial services provider they can feel proud of. A larger, stronger co-operative sector across a range of industries can help build a diverse economy which is good for consumers.”

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