Press release

UK set to have more 'member owners' than 'shareholders' by 2012

The UK will soon have 40% more members of co-operatives than direct individual shareholders, according to a prediction from the country's co-operative sector, which is today forecasting a 10% growth in membership by the end of 2012.

More than one in four of the population (23%) will be members of co-operatives by 2012, 43 per cent higher than the current estimated number of direct individual shareholders in the UK (16%).i

Speaking this evening at a Parliamentary Reception hosted as part of Co-operatives Fortnight 2011, Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK said:

"By 2012, 14 million people will sharing in the profits of their co-operative and having a say in how their organisation is run. In a country where at present just 50% of the population own just 1% of the wealthii and only 12% of households hold any form of business assetiii, the success of co-operative businesses can only help to narrow the gap between rich and poor."

"This is close-up ownership. Members of co-operative enterprises own the business between them and get a share of the profits. It is one member, one vote and the dividend you get is down to how much you use the co-operative. Your money, whether £1 or £10,000, is at risk, but co-operatives businesses are doing well and the value of shares is not subject to stock market speculation."

Membership of the co-operative sector has grown by 13% over the past two years.

i'One half billion shareholders and counting', Grout, Megginson, Zalewaka (2009). UK independent direct shareholders 9.8m

ii Source, Inland Revenue, cited in Pettifor, Ann (ed), Real World Economic Outlook, New Economics Foundation, 2003, p34. Figures exclude forms of household wealth.

iii ONS 2010 "Wealth in Great Britain: main results from the wealth and assets survey 2006/08", cited in Adam Schoenborn, The Right to Retail, ResPublica, 2011, p3

Co-operatives UK