70% rise in co-op registrations

Food, finance and energy organisations among start-ups

The number of cooperatives and community interest companies registered in the first third of 2009 has increased dramatically compared with the same period last year.

According to umbrella body Cooperatives UK, registrations of new cooperatives rose to 34 in the first four months of 2009, up from 20 in the same period in 2008, an increase of 70 per cent.

The organisation said it believed it registered only 50 per cent or less of new cooperatives.

"This is the first rise in the number of cooperatives being registered we've seen for some time," said a spokesman for Cooperatives UK. It's an extremely good sign for the movement."

Food, finance and energy cooperatives made up the largest number of new registrations, he added.

The number of community interest companies registered in the year from April 2008 to March 2009 was 1,122, a 38 per cent rise from the 814 registered in the previous year.

The spokesman added: "Even David Cameron has been promoting cooperatives as a good business model."

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