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Blogs posted by Co-operatives UK staff, members or supporter organisations.


The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill 2014-15 is currently making its way through Parliament and is due to gain Royal Assent in March 2015.  The Bill is designed to reduce the barriers that can hamper the ability of small businesses to innovate, grow and compete.

The Bill does mean change for co‑operatives registered as companies.  This post outlines the main changes and action points for such co-operatives.

My top five tips on co-operative innovation for 2015

One of the great qualities of the co-operative model is the extraordinarily flexible way in which the simple idea of ownership by those involved in the business can be brought to life. It is true that there are many levels at which you can co-operate in a business – to be owned by your customers doesn’t mean that the workplace is a participative one, just as to be owned by your workforce doesn’t mean that your services are always shaped and led by customers.

The life and hope of William Hazell, Ynysybwl, South Wales

William Hazell, who died in the year I was born, was a miner and co-operative writer and activist from South Wales. His biography has been published recently, written by Alan Burge. It is an extraordinary read, full of the hope, integrity and compassion that has sustained the co-operative sector as a social movement over a long period of time.

Russell Brand on co-ops

A Christmas gift is Russell Brand’s book, Revolution. Charismatic or controversial, comic or serious, I don’t know, but it is certainly full of passion, hope and far more humility than I would have imagined.

It is also the first bestselling book for a while to quote the seven principles of co-operative identity, and associated co-operative values, that form the Statement of Co-operative Identity of the International Co-operative Alliance.

The Christmas story is a story of struggle and hope

Christmas time can be so depressing, says our local vicar, Tim Yeager. It brings out some of the worst features of capitalism and rubs them in our faces – advertising to buy the right consumer products for the ones you love, creative financing so that lenders can make more profit, and it is an environmental disaster…more plastic, cardboard and packaging is produced, carted about and dumped into landfills, vacant lots and incinerators than at any other time of year.

The most co-operative country on earth

It is not just Father Christmas.

Finland’s Professor Salme Näsi is a fellow Board member of Co-operatives Europe. She welcomed me on my first visit to the country, earlier this month, and as she says of her countrymen, “we are the most co-operative nation on earth.”

Social Economy: the curious incident of the UK going European?

I have had the luck over recent weeks to see something of the emergence of policy in a number of European countries in relation to the idea of the ‘social economy’.

Armistice Day and the business of peace

Today is Armistice Day and we have a hundred co-operative entrepreneurs together here in Manchester at our Practitioner Forum.

The co-operative movement is entangled with the great conflicts of the last century and the campaigns for peace, such as complementing the red poppy of remembrance with the white poppy of peace – pioneered by the Co-operative Women’s Guild.

QE is a quantum leap in inequality

It looked recently as if US and UK economic policy would kick the habit of recent years’ quantitative easing (QE) and rock bottom interest rates. We will now have to wait longer for that, as economic forecasts dim around the world. But spending time in London, you could be forgiven for wondering whether there were ever any economic worries – on one estimate, you need to earn over £100,000 to buy a first property, while the numbers working in the City, who might have a chance of doing that, are now higher than before the credit crunch.

How can government support people to pool their resources?

At their heart co-ops are about people pooling resources to meet their own needs.

In economic terms this drives collaborative entrepreneurialism, rewires markets, and recasts the relationships between producers and consumers and workers and enterprise. This pooling of resources often becomes a source of patient long term investment in human capital; boosting productivity and innovation whilst underwriting a triple bottom line of people planet and profit.     


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