Leaders of the mutuals sector have today said that the government must do more to promote mutual forms of business. Speaking ahead of the 2011 Mutuals Forum taking place today, they said:

“The Coalition Agreement promised to ‘foster diversity and promote mutuals.’ So far, there is little evidence of a coherent Government plan to do this. At the same time, the Mutual sector is the strongest it has been in many years. It employs over a million people and turns over more than £110 billion annually. It’s clear to us that the government needs to work much harder in this area if it is to honour its commitment.”

In the financial services sector, the Mutuals Forum heard that Government has already missed opportunities to move the sector forward by:

  • ending Child Trust Funds, more than 60% of which were successfully provided by mutuals
  • rejecting plans to re-mutualise Northern Rock, even before HM Treasury has received a report on the feasibility of this
  • Treasury failing to support mutual insurers as they argue that their capital structures should be treated different from plcs by Regulators

In public services, the Cabinet Office has stated an ambition of 1 million public sector workers owning their own firms by 2015. So far, it has achieved less than 5% of this number and, as we saw yesterday, cutting the staff of the Office for Civil Society by 25% makes this even less likely. Unless it immediately makes plans to provide comprehensive support to public sector managers, it is already clear that this target will not be met. Worse is that their proposals amount to nothing more than a Trojan Horse for privatisation; the treatment of Central Surrey Health and the lauding of privateers Circle Healthcare as a ‘pathfinder’ demonstrate their real motives.

The Co-operative Party has assembled a dossier of betrayals by the Conservative-led Coalition government – download it here.