Brian Groom, Business and Employment Editor of the FT – and for some time a supportive commentator on the co-operative scene – reports that co-operative businesses grew in number, turnover and jobs last year.
He quoted information that the number of co-ops increased by 4% in 2012 to 6,169, a 28% rise since 2008, given by Co-operatives UK.
Despite tough economic trading conditions:
- combined turnover rose 3.3% last year to £36.7bn;
- the number of employees was up nearly 6% at 237,000;
- and the number of people owning and controlling their business as members of a co-op was up 13.6% to nearly 15.4m.
“A record number of people in the UK are now members of co-operatives. They are economically active within those co-operatives and have a big stake in making them a success,” said Ed Mayo, secretary-general of Co-operatives UK.
And a hint at one of the reasons for the difficulties facing the Co-operative Group
Brian Groom mentions, “the near-failure of the Co-op bank has reawakened an old criticism that their large number of stakeholders can lead to weak control of managers’ behaviour”.
Concerned co-operators have been elaborating on this management weakness for several years