Co-operatives UK, the trade association for co-operative enterprises, has warmly welcomed the announcement made by the government that they are to refer the legislation governing co-operatives and mutuals to the Law Commission.
The announcement, made by the Prime Minister David Cameron, means that the 17 separate pieces of legislation governing the sector, much of which dates back to 1965 and has been developed piecemeal, may now be consolidated into one Act.
Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, said:
"The new act is intended to make it as easy and natural to form a co-operative as any other form of business. We are delighted to see the Coalition taking action to put co-operative businesses on an equal footing and create a diverse economy."
"Co-operatives, as well as being widely recognised for their ethical business practices, are a vital part of the British economy, employing more than 235,000 people, turning over more than £33 billion each year and generating a significant amount of wealth for the country."
Co-operative businesses are already outperforming the UK economy and have grown by 20% since the start of the credit crunch. The consolidation of the legislation will create a more equal playing field for them by creating clarity and reducing running costs.
The announcement comes at the start of the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives, a global campaign to increase understanding of co-operative businesses.