Co-operatives give people control over the products and services that matter to them. From fan-owned football clubs to farmer-controlled producers, there are nearly 7,000 independent co-operatives across UK.

Since the Rochdale Pioneers opened their Toad Lane store in 1844, the co-operative movement has grown to a network of over 3 million individual members in the UK. Cooperatives boost innovation, productivity and entrepreneurship and contribute £37 billion to the British economy.

In Wycombe, Cressex Community School became the first state-maintained Trust schools in Buckinghamshire and one of the first Cooperative Trust schools in England. Cressex was the second worst performing school in Buckinghamshire before it became the first co-operative school in the county in 2010. Since then, through spirit and teamwork, the school had been ranked ‘good’ in an Ofsted report which also called the Sixth Form ‘outstanding’.

It is important that the UK has a further flourishing of co-operatives in business, education and health which is why tomorrow I am sponsoring the parliamentary launch of Co-operative UK’s new book on co-operative innovation: The Cooperative Advantage: innovation, co-operation and why sharing business ownership is good for Britain.

Further details will be available tomorrow.

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