Co-operatives UK has launched the Co-operative and Mutual Economy 2023 – the only examination of a combined, comprehensive dataset on the democratic economy.
The ground-breaking Co-operative and Mutual Economy 2023 report, launched today (27 September, 2023) presents a compelling case for harnessing the full potential of co-operatives and mutuals in the UK.
Published by trade body Co-operatives UK, the report reveals there are 9,113 businesses in the 'democratic economy' with a combined annual income of £87.9 billion. People are invested in the democratic economy – with memberships of the UK's co-operatives, mutuals, building societies and employee owned enterprises surpassing 74 million.
Rose Marley, CEO of Co-operatives UK, said: “This report demonstrates the resilience, growth and power of co-operation. Ahead of the political party conference season, I urge all parties to move away from business as usual and embrace those democratic business models that are giving people real power, control and a stake in the future.”
Co-operatives represent 83.2% of businesses in the democratic economy, generating a combined, annual income of £40.9 billion – a 3.7% increase from 2022 levels.
There are 7,586 co-operatives, an increase of 1.1% on 2022 levels despite the tough economy climate. In sharp contrast, the number of businesses overall dropped by 1.7% as company deaths outstripped births by almost 50,000.
Co-operative resilience is further highlighted with a 83.3% survival rate for new-starts over five years; more than double other start-up businesses.
The remarkable growth in employee owned businesses is revealed, with a 37.7% increase in just 12 months. Data trends for credit unions and community owned pubs also prove that rapid growth is possible, if enabling frameworks are in place. However, the report highlights that the potential of co-operatives and mutuals in the UK remains largely untapped.
Rose Marley said: "We have to find ways to increase societal awareness and interest in co-operatives and mutuals. We need to inspire communities to take ownership and control of the economy; to empower young people; and to reach businesses and people at critical junctures – with the right support – to help them adopt democratic models and practices."
- £87.9 billion income and 74 million memberships in the democratic economy: Demonstrating the value people place on genuine ownership and control
- Resilience and longevity: Co-operatives are over twice as likely (83.3%) to survive the first five years of trading when compared to other start-up businesses
- Sector growth: The number of employee owned increased by 37.7% in just 12 months. Revenue growth for credit unions of 13.5% with 40,000 new members
- Community impact: Co-operatives play a significant role in community development, with a remarkable 62.6% increase in the number of community-owned pubs over the past five years
- Sustainability: Co-operatives are well-positioned to contribute to a just transition to green energy, with the number of co-operatives operating in the energy and environment sector increasing by 18.6% over the last five years
- Policy advocacy: Leading co-operatives are advocating for policies that support co-operative growth, with a policy platform urging political parties to commit to co-operative expansion