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
Policy in practice
Projects that demonstrate the benefits or may be helped by polices like this.
Founder Julian Richer transferred 60% of his shares into a John Lewis-style trust.
North West Mutual
Community bank will help local businesses and individuals neglected by mainstream banks.
Schools’ Energy Co-operative
Schools’ Energy Co-operative has installed solar panels on schools across the country, working with a network of local groups.
Parents collaborate with skilled staff to provide high-quality affordable care at this well-established nursery.
Suma, Europe’s largest equal-pay co-op, recently celebrated its 40th birthday.
South West Mutual
South West Mutual is a member-owned, high-street bank dedicated to residents and small businesses.
Avon Mutual is one of a new breed of community-owned banks that aim to put people and the planet first.
This workers' co-operative connects local growers with businesses in the fightback against food poverty.
Robert Owen Community Banking
Ethical fund provides finance for small businesses, home improvements and community energy projects.
YnNi Teg develops and builds renewable energy generators in Wales, funded by community shares.