Co-operatives and mutuals are organisations owned by their members – such as their customers, workers, or community members – rather than distant shareholders. They represent a better way of doing business, and help create an economy where wealth and power are more equally shared.
But as shown last year, the assets built up by co-operatives and mutuals are often attractive to corporate raiders. The mutual insurer Liverpool Victoria (LV=) started as an organisation to help the poor of Victorian Liverpool afford a dignified funeral, and the assets built up over generations of contributions by members turned it into one of the UK's largest insurance companies. In December 2021, after nearly 180 years of service, those assets were nearly bought up by private equity giant Bain Capital – until members thwarted the takeover.
The current law leaves co-ops and mutuals too vulnerable to asset-stripping. That's why Co-operative MP Sir Mark Hendrick has introduced the Co-operatives, Mutuals and Friendly Societies Bill to Parliament. This new Bill would help to protect co-operatives and mutuals by letting them opt-in to an "asset lock", so assets built up by members over generations cannot be sold off and must retain their original mutual purpose.
This Bill could help to protect and grow our co-operative and mutual sectors. But for this Bill to make it through Parliament, we need your help. Every party should support protecting our historic mutuals and preserving corporate diversity – so will you ask your MP to back the Co-ops Bills?
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Promoted by Joe Fortune on behalf of the Co-operative Party, both at Unit 13, 83 Crampton Street, London, SE17 3BQ, United Kingdom. Co-operative Party Limited is a registered Society under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014. Registered no. 30027R
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