The Purpose of Mutual and Co-operative Business in Society

How co-operatives and mutuals are helping tackle the big challenges

The mutual and co-operative economy is comprised of all building societies, co- operatives, credit unions, mutual insurers and employee-owned businesses. Together, these mutuals are an increasingly significant contributor to the UK economy, with the latest research finding combined annual revenues of £87.9 billion in 2022, equating to 3.5% of UK GDP.

But their contribution goes much further than this. Mutuals are major employers, supporting at least 411,634 jobs at latest count. And while mutuals represent less than 1% of all businesses in the UK, they create 1.45% of all employment.

Headline data also shows that mutuals play a key role in the life of the nation, with more memberships of mutuals in the UK than there are residents.

But impressive as this headline data is, the impact and potential of the UK’s thriving mutual economy goes much deeper, as this prospectus demonstrates.

We call on an incoming government to play its part in creating a new covenant between co-operative and mutual businesses, government and society.  A covenant characterised by purpose driven businesses working for the benefit of our communities and our society.  A covenant which sees the rewards of co-operation reinvested in our communities and society – not extracted for the benefit of remote shareholders.

We need the Government to:

  1. Design an environment which supports the growth of co-operatives and mutuals
  2. Deliver an overarching legislative and regulatory framework to provide a level playing field
  3. Create and preserve capital to support new and growing co-operatives and mutuals

You can read the Prospectus here