Once upon a time Britain had over 1400 local cooperative societies. Now we have around twenty and with the recent ScotMid take over of Penrith and the current Midlands/Anglia merger the number is going down further.
I explore some of the issues around cooperative mergers (which, as we now know from the Co-op Bank/Britannia affair, can sometimes turn out to be bad ideas, not good ideas) in a piece written for the Guardian’s social enterprise pages. It was posted today and you’ll find it here.
Incidentally the Guardian’s headline might suggest on casual reading that the piece is about a decline in coop societies’ performance or profitability. It’s not: the decline I’m talking about is simply numerical. Sometimes, though, mergers can simply be nodded through by members. I try to suggest that, within the coop movement, we should have more of a discussion of merger pros and cons.