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A record 15.4 million memberships create ‘home-grown’ growth in UK’s £37bn co-operative economy

The number of entrepreneurs, employers and communities in the UK running their own business through a co-operative enterprise has reached an all time high with record 15.4million memberships of co-operatives, according to a new report.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

A record 15.4 million memberships create ‘home-grown’ growth in UK’s £37bn co-operative economy

This represents an increase of 36% since 2008 and 13.6% growth in the last year.

The ‘Homegrown: The Co-operative Economy 2013’ report, published by Co-operatives UK, shows that the number of co-operative businesses in the UK has also risen by 28% since 2008 and by 4% in the last twelve months alone.

The report outlines how local shops, owned and run by members of communities across the UK had a combined turnover of £49 million in 2012 with 51,510 members. It also shows how more than 8,000 members have raised £9 million through community share offers to register 35 new co-operative community businesses in the UK in the last 12 months.

Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, said: “A record number of people in the UK are now members of co-operatives. They are economically active within those co-operatives and have a big stake in making them a success. This is why we can still see growth in the co-operative economy – despite the very tough economic trading conditions. More and more Briton’s are turning to co-operatives, taking greater control of their own destiny and growing their own way out of recession.”

Those choosing the co-operative option and ‘growing their own’ co-operative enterprises include individual entrepreneurs, employers who are sharing ownership, communities, customers and even sports fans who own and run their own clubs.

According to Co-operatives UK, it is the growing appeal of sharing ownership, sharing profits and sharing control that is fuelling the diverse co-operative economy in the UK which includes customer owned shops and community pubs, foster-care and child-care providers, and multi-million pound co-operatives such as Co-operative Energy.

Mayo added: “People are taking action, they want a say in what matters to them. In this time of limited economic growth and social challenges, the appetite is to seek to achieve independent control, to run a fair organisation that benefits all and to place increasing importance on planning for the longer term. The result is that the co-operative enterprise, with these principles at its heart, is becoming a very real option for many creating a resilient, ‘home grown’ co-operative economy.”

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