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News - 19 June 2017

Co-ops on the up

At a time of increasing inequality, a new report reveals the UK co-operative sector is being buoyed by growing desire for a fairer economy

Report shows a buoyant co-operative sector that is giving people a stake in the economy. The UK’s 7,000 independent co-ops turn over £36bn a year and employ 226,000 people. The number of active members continues to grow, reaching 13.6 million.

Co-operative retailers have performed well, with particular growth evident among new tech co-ops. With political instability over the last year indicating a public demand for a fairer economy, new figures released before the Queen’s speech, show the resilience and growth of the UK’s co-operative sector.

In its annual state of the sector report, The UK co-operative economy 2017, trade body Co-operatives UK finds that there are 6,815 independent co-operatives across the UK, ranging from high street retailers and farmer owned businesses to community sports clubs and web developers, which together turned over £36 billion last year.

The number of people who own and have a say in how the UK’s co-ops are run is also on the rise, with 700,000 new members over the last year, bringing the total to 13.6 million active members. The upsurge stems from a membership drive by the UK’s largest customer-owned business, the Co-op Group and new people joining other co-operative retailers, community owned businesses and credit unions.

The report includes new polling data conducted by YouGov showing that people want more of a say over the economy, with two thirds of people saying that they have no control over the economy, and only quarter saying they can influence either their workplace or their local area.


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