Government must promote good business

That’s the clear message from the Mutuals Manifesto which makes 44 policy recommendations for increasing the contribution of mutual business to growth, prosperity and fairness.

Mutuo managing partner Peter Hunt said: “All of our major economic competitors, from the US through the European Union to East Asia, make better use of mutually owned business to drive economic growth and spread wealth.

“We know that greater diversity of business types will help to protect our economy from damaging shocks such as the financial crisis, yet the UK still remains fixated on a plc mono-culture.

“Where business operates in the interests of customers and employees, it deserves the support of politicians.

“There is a positive role for the next Government in ensuring that mutuals can play their full part in our economy and society. This Manifesto provides a roadmap for helping to make this a reality.”

The report calls for a bigger role for customer owned business (building societies, credit unions, co-operatives and mutual insurers) to increase corporate diversity and customer choice; more employee ownership to share the rewards of work; and a partnership between government and the public to increase investment in growing the economy.

The Mutuals Manifesto report proposes a greater role for customer and employee owned businesses that contribute to managing risk, promote consumer choice and spread wealth more evenly.

It also looks at how mutually owned business can play its full part in Britain's future. From being the birthplace of this idea, the UK now lags behind most global competitors, where mutuals play a greater role in financial services, business growth and public service provision.

Key recommendations in the manifesto include the reform of mutual banking to increase market share; legislation to prevent future demutualisations and new ‘One Nation Savings Bonds’ to allow citizens to invest in infrastructure.

It also wants to see a boost to employee ownership, including making employee bonuses portable between employers and an overhaul of legislation and government policy affecting mutuals.