Introduce a Co-operative Economy Act
A legal framework tailored to the needs of co-operatives and supportive of their future development.
A Co-operative Economy Act must address the current disincentives to co-operative growth that exist in regulation and law, ensure co-operative wealth is rooted in the wider co-operative economy, and create the conditions for the accumulation of co-operative capital and commercial expansion.
A Co-operative Economy Act should establish the legal framework, financial instruments and institutional mechanisms needed to:
- Create an asset lock and common indivisible reserves
An asset lock would ensure there can never be a benefit from ‘cashing out’ via liquidating or selling the co-operative, keeping co-operatively earned wealth within the co-operative economy.
- Introduce a right to own
A right to own would support employee buyouts and the co-operatisation of existing businesses.
- Introduce a duty to develop the diversity of corporate form
The government must provide official recognition of co‑operatives as inclusive business models, and introduce a new statutory duty to foster diversity of corporate forms to help enable a new culture of co‑operative entrepreneurship, and broader pluralism of ownership in the economy as a whole.
- Establish a Co-operative Development Agency
To strengthen the development of the sector, a Co-operative Development Agency for England and Northern Ireland should be established on a statutory basis. This would mirror the institutional support provided to co-operatives in Scotland and Wales.
Tags Democratic ownership
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