Why I’m backing Sir Mark Hendrick’s Co-operatives, Mutuals and Friendly Societies Bill

As a Co-operative Party MSP, I am pleased to see that my Westminster colleague, Sir Mark Hendrick MP is bringing forward a Bill this week which would bring overdue changes to the legislation that governs co-operatives and mutuals.


Amidst the turmoil at Westminster and the clear need for a General Election which would allow the election of a Labour and Co-operative Government in the UK it can be easy to miss what else is happening in Westminster.


As a Co-operative Party MSP, I am pleased to see that my Westminster colleague, Sir Mark Hendrick MP is bringing forward a Bill this week which would bring overdue changes to the legislation that governs co-operatives and mutuals.


Co-operatives operate across the world and across Scotland and they make a real difference in our communities, representing a better way of doing business. However, the assets built up by co-operatives and mutuals are often all too attractive to corporate raiders. Only last year, one of the UK’s largest mutual insurance companies, Liverpool Victoria (LV=), was nearly bought up by private equity giant Bain Capital.


The example of Liverpool Victoria shows that current law leaves co-ops and mutuals too vulnerable to asset-stripping and potential demutualisations. 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 retain their original mutual purpose.


I am pleased to have joined with my Scottish Co-operative Party MSP colleagues in writing to the Chancellor of the Exchequer calling for the UK Government to support Sir Mark’s Bill and ensure that it has sufficient parliamentary time to become law.