Co-operatives Unleashed: Doubling the Size of the UK’s Co-operative Sector

The New Economics Foundation

Author +
Mathew Lawrence, Andrew Pendleton and Sara Mahmoud

Year: 2018

Now, more than half of UK company equity is owned abroad and only just over 12% by individuals. The interests of those who own Britain’s businesses are often misaligned with those of other stakeholders, such as employees, customers, service users and local communities. And even were they are better aligned, a concentration of shareholding and the distant power of capital markets hollows out the agency of individual shareholders.

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A different kind of business and, as a result, a different kind of economy is possible, but it will not happen by accident. Co‑operatives are both journey and destination in this quest. They are a vector for democratic change in the economy, and a more democratically-owned economic model that distributes wealth and is viable today. And yet a lack of policy and support, and a hostile economic environment for co-operation in the UK, holds them back.

This report is about doubling the size of the UK’s co‑op sector. It is also about how enterprise can serve the interests of the people it employs and those in the communities around them. And it is about how doing business can increase economic democracy, and how the wealth created can be more broadly and equitably shared.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary
1. Owning The Future
2. The Co‑operative Approach: A Different Form Of Enterprise
3. Co‑operatives As Symptoms And Agents Of System Change
4. The Co‑operative Advantage
5. The Co‑operative Economy Today
6. The Uk In Context: Lagging Behind
7. The Imperative Of Now: The Opportunities And Challenges Facing Co‑operatives
8. Case Studies
9. The Barriers To Co‑operative Expansion
10. The Co‑operative Economy By 2030
11. Policy Recommendations

Source: The New Economics Foundation