The government will introduce a Cooperatives Bill before the next election in order to make it easier to start up and run a cooperative, according to David Cameron, the Prime Minister.
The bill will consolidate and simplify 17 pieces of legislation, Cameron said in a speech on the subject of popular capitalism at an event in London yesterday.
"There are more than 12 million co-op members in the UK," he said. "That’s more people than there are shareholders in the economy, making it a vital branch of popular capitalism.
"But right now there are too many barriers in the way. Seventeen separate and outdated pieces of legislation add cost and complexity."
Ed Mayo, secretary general of umbrella body Co-operatives UK, said a bill to simplify cooperatives legislation was extremely welcome.
"This is a fantastic step forward," he said. "The last consolidation act came when I was only a few months old.
"At the moment, it’s too complicated to form a cooperative society, and it’s too complicated for investors. This bill will make it much easier."