Co-op and mutual bodies launch UK prospectus calling for policy support

The document was produced by Abcul, Co-operatives UK, AFM and BSA

Apex bodies in the co-op and mutuals sectors have come together to launch a prospectus advocating for the model.

Produced by the Association of British Credit Unions (Abcul), the Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM), the Building Society Association (BSA), Co-operatives UK and the National Liaison Group for credit unions, the Purpose of Mutual and Co-operative Business in Society prospectus calls for a more favourable operating environment.

It says organisations such as credit unions and co-operative led businesses make a significant contribution to the UK economy, with combined annual revenues of £87.9bn, equating to 3.5% of UK GDP.

“This is a call to action for the next government to create a more robust and effective relationship between mutual and co-operative businesses, government, and society and to back organisations with purpose beyond profit,” said Abcul CEO, Robert Kelly.  

“Our unified message is clear – the pivotal role that mutual and co-operative businesses play in building an inclusive, diverse, and competitive economy must be more front and centre for future government policy and strategy. 

“Everything we do is underpinned by our core values and ethical base and our focus on co-operation, collaboration and transparency should be cultivated in a more strategic and relevant way.”

The prospectus calls on government to:

  • Create an environment that places mutuals and co-operatives at the heart of economic strategy, supporting the growth of the mutual sector
  • Deliver a legislative and regulatory framework that enables mutuals and co-operatives to meet the needs of the communities they serve and compete fairly with other businesses
  • Create and preserve capital to support new and growing mutuals and co-operatives

“Abcul has a clear mission and vision for credit unions to be the number one choice in safe savings and ethical and affordable lending alongside a renewed purpose of product and service innovation for 2024 and beyond,” added Kelly.

“Credit unions are serving more consumers than ever before, and our sector stands ready to play a prominent role in this new vision for mutuals and co-operatives.”

A series of parliamentary events will be held across the UK in the new year to engage, face t -face, with politicians from all parties. The aim is to build understanding of the value mutual organisations bring to the economy, and to garner support for the actions required to maintain that mutuals value.