The mutual and co-operative sector calls on party leaders to put co-operatives and mutuals at the centre of their plans for growth

The mutual and co-operative sector calls on party leaders to put co-operatives and mutuals at the centre of their plans for growth

10 June 2024

The chief executives of mutual trade bodies, including Co-operatives UK, The Association of Financial Mutuals, the Building Societies Association and ABCUL, have written to the main party leaders, calling for a meaningful covenant between mutuals and co-operatives, Government and society, based on the purpose-driven business model that delivers tangible benefits to our communities and wider society.

Specifically, the letter calls for the next Government to commit to:

  • Appointing a Minister for Mutuals & Co-operatives
  • Establishing a British Business Bank fund for to new and existing mutuals and co-operatives
  • Reviewing the case for mutualising the Post Office
  • Delivering the recommendations of the Law Commission reviews

This builds on the work that the sector has already done in preparing a joint Prospectus which outlines the asks in further details and a series of policy roundtables which have taken place across the UK over the last 12 months.


Press contacts:
Sian Bradshaw

Senior Consultant, H/Advisors Cicero

[email protected]


Notes to Editors:

  • The Purpose of Mutual and Co-operative Businesses in Society Prospectus can be found here.
  • Policy roundtables were held in Cardiff, Edinburgh, London and Manchester between January and May 2024. They convened influential and supportive politicians and influencers to agree what mutual have to offer and how to ensure this potential is harnessed by the next government.
  • The mutuals and co-operative trade associations are: Association of British Credit Unions (ABCUL); Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM); Building Societies Assocation (BSA); Co-operatives UK (Co-op UK) and the National Liaison Group (NLG).
    • ABCUL is the leading trade association for the credit union sector across Great Britain serving over 151 individual credit unions of all shapes and asset sizes.  ABCUL members account for more than 61% of the total volume of credit unions in Great Britain with over £1bn of total assets in membership.
    • The Association of Financial Mutuals is the trade body that represents mutual and not-for-profit insurers, friendly societies and other financial mutuals across the UK. The AFM is committed to protecting and progressing the principles of mutuality and promoting a better understanding of mutuals, encouraging mutual support and mutual approaches to business and public policy.
    • The Building Societies Association represents all 42 building societies, as well as 7 of the larger credit unions. Building societies serve around 26 million consumers across the UK and have total assets of over £515 billion. Together with their subsidiaries, they are helping 3.5 million families and individuals to buy a home with mortgages totalling over £385 billion, representing 24% of total mortgage balances outstanding in the UK. They are also helping over 23 million people build their financial resilience, holding over £385 billion of retail savings, accounting for 19% of all cash savings in the UK.  Within this, societies account for 40% of all cash ISA balances. With all of their headquarters outside London, building societies employ around 51,500 full and part-time staff.  In addition to digital services, they operate through approximately 1,300 branches, holding a rising share of financial services branches in local communities.
    • Co-operatives UK is the voice for the UK’s thousands of independent co ops. It supports co ops to start up and thrive and offers access expert advice, events and training.
    • The National Liaison Group is a collaboration of the UK Credit Union Trade Bodies and Representatives who come together to engage with government, regulators and other stakeholders to support change and create an environment that facilitates ongoing growth and resilience of the credit union sector.

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