Solutions

Introduce a Co-operative Economy Act

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.