Press release

Co-op Group backs our campaign urging the Chancellor to do more to kick start the national recovery

One of the UK’s largest co-ops - The Co-op - has joined our campaign, which now has the support of over 900 social businesses, in calling for the Chancellor to provide more support to social enterprises and cooperatives. 

Research shows half the social sector could run out of money by June without further action putting up to 1m jobs at risk, over 200,000 in the poorest communities. We're working with partners across the local economy to campaign for support for the sector. 

Social enterprises, co-operatives and community businesses are continue to fall between the cracks of the current government schemes to support businesses through Covid-19. Despite working in the UK’s most deprived communities, employing vulnerable people and delivering critical health and care services during this pandemic, social entrepreneurs are being refused support while billions have been given out in grants to other businesses. 

There are 100,000 social enterprises, which include co-operatives, in the UK contributing £60bn to the economy and employing 2 million people.

Commenting on the campaign, Steve Murrells, Chief Executive of The Co-operative Group said: “Co-operatives and social enterprises have been critical to the wellbeing of local communities for years. They’re needed even more in this current crisis but some need a helping hand themselves to get though the emergency. With their fair share of Government support today, they can be there to help kick start the national recovery tomorrow.”

Ed Mayo, Secretary General, Co-operatives UK said: "With one in two co-ops reporting to us that they are experiencing cashflow problems and a worrying 17 per cent listing ineligibility for any government grant as a major challenge to their survival, we want to ensure that co-operative and social enterprises don't miss out."  

Co-ops and social enterprises continue to report being denied business grants and loans due to restrictive criteria and inappropriate rules governing loan requirements. This is despite the fact that the government has distributed £15bn in loans to businesses which trade solely for profit.

Businesses have signed a letter to the Chancellor calling for:

  • Expanded Business Grants for small social enterprises and cooperatives, particularly those working in deprived communities or with vulnerable workers;
  • Blended finance/zero-interest loans for larger social enterprises and cooperatives;
  • Access to additional statutory funding for social enterprises and cooperatives to cover COVID-19 costs in delivering public services;
  • Bespoke business support for social enterprises and cooperatives to deliver Covid-19 Business Adaptation Support.

In total this support package will cost in £45million per year in total, a fraction of the UK social enterprise sector’s £60bn contribution to the economy.

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> Read our latest briefing for policymakers

Co-operatives UK is campaigning alongside Community Leisure UK, Locality, Plunkett Foundation, School for Social Enterpreneurs, Social Enterprise UK, Social Enterprise Mark CIC, Social Value UK and UnLtd