The COVID-19 pandemic has placed extraordinary pressure on co-op enterprise. That pressure has varied from industry to industry, from business to business.
Here at Co-operatives UK we've been working incredibly hard to ensure co-ops are included in all immediate government measures to reduce hardship - and at the forefront of measures to build back better. You'll find a summary of our successes and ongoing work to influence government below.
Our new paper, We are the Rebuilders, published during Co-op Fortnight demonstrates how co-ops can help create a more just and sustainable future. It gained support from a range of MPs and prompted a series of parliamentary questions around our four ‘offers’ for building back better. The paper demonstrates that co-ops are a great way for people to:
- Create decent new livelihoods
- Keep viable jobs in their community
- Breathe new life into local assets and enterprise
- Convert newfound community spirit into transformative social action
Want to help? Read 'We are the Rebuilders' and share with MPs, local councillors and other elected officials.
We've made seven recommendations to government in response to the Prime Minister’s call for proposals on how civil society, community groups and social enterprise can be supported to contribute to ‘levelling up’ and the COVID-19 recovery. See our seven recommedations and detailed response here.
We joined forces with a range of partner organisations to call for the UK government to give the social enterprise sector access to its 'fair share' of support to fuel the post COVID-19 recovery. More than 17 per cent of co-ops listed ineligibility for any government grant as a major challenge to their survival, se we acted swifty to call for ministers to back our four-point plan... and it resulted in £30 million of blended finance for social enterprises.
Save our social eterprises: the four-point plan and lobbying success
Alongside our partners we asked the chancellor:
- Extend existing business grants to include social enterprises
- Change the delivery of loan finance to work for social enterprises;
- Open up emergency financing for public services to social enterprises delivering services on behalf of the state
- Provide business support so that social enterprises can use any funds they do receive effectively to transition their business.
Co-ops are overlooked on occasion when it comes to government policy and it's our job to fight the entire sector's corner. Initially, co-ops were omitted from new insolvency legislation which gave businesses in distress more opportunities to turn things around. Following a significant lobbying effort we celebrated the inclusion of co-ops and community benefit societies in the new legislation. Discover how insolvency legislation has changed.
We also worked hard to ensure co-ops and community benefit societies were covered by legislation providing businesses with greater flexibility over how and when they could hold their annual general meetings (AGMs). Read about our AGM lobbying success.
Get advice on holding your AGM online right here.