In the run-up to the general election, mutual businesses from across the UK have released a manifesto in which they call on the next government to promote people-centred enterprises.
Published by Mutuo on 25 March, the document makes 44 policy recommendations for increasing the contribution of mutual businesses to growth, prosperity and fairness. Mutuals ask for a bigger role for customer and employee owned businesses, such as co-operatives, credit unions, mutual insurers and building societies. The report suggests establishing a partnership between government and the public to increase investment in growing the economy.
In the manifesto, mutuals also propose new “One Nation Savings Bonds” to allow citizens to invest in national infrastructure projects. Other recommendations include adopting legislation to prevent future demutualisations and reforming mutual banking to increase market share.
Peter Hunt, Mutuo managing partner, said: “All of our major economic competitors, from the US through the European Union to East Asia, make better use of mutually owned business to drive economic growth and spread wealth. We know that greater diversity of business types will help to protect our economy from damaging shocks such as the financial crisis, yet the UK still remains fixated on a plc monoculture.
“Where a business operates in the interests of customers and employees, it deserves the support of politicians. There is a positive role for the next government in ensuring that mutuals can play their full part in our economy and society. This manifesto provides a roadmap for helping to make this a reality.”
The manifesto highlights that an incoming government should ensure mutuals can compete freely and on fair terms with all types of business, and suggests that fiscal measures should promote mutual ownership as much as share ownership.
It adds that when considering a change of corporate provider for public services, the government should always consider a mutual option before a private sector contractor is engaged. Another suggestion for an incoming government is to adopt a clear protocol for public service demutualisation that allows sufficient time and ensures a fair and consistent approach across government departments.