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What recent assessment his Department has made of the contribution to the public purse of tax paid by co-operative and mutual businesses.
I recognise the positive impact that co-operatives and mutuals have across all sectors of the economy, including retail, agriculture and financial services. No assessment has been made of the amount of tax paid by co-operative and mutual businesses, but I note that the report last year from the all-party group for mutuals found that mutuals generate over £130 billion to benefit the wider economy each year.
It is a matter of fact that the three largest co-ops in this country pay more tax than Facebook, Amazon and Caffé Nero combined, so not only are they creating jobs; they are also paying fairly into the Exchequer. Will the Minister meet me and representatives from the co-op and mutuals sector to discuss that part of the economy and make sure that Britain can thrive in an inclusive way?
Yes, I will. There are 7,000 co-ops across the United Kingdom, employing nearly a quarter of a million people. I have had numerous meetings over the past two years with representatives of co-ops and mutuals, and we had a mutuals workshop last July. I am very happy to meet the hon. Gentleman to discuss the recent Manchester mutuals report and to see what we can do together.
Perhaps I should declare an interest as a member of the Midcounties co-operative. Will my hon. Friend consider broadening the eligibility for social investment tax relief so that more mutuals and social enterprises can deliver excellent services and outstanding social value?
I always listen very carefully to what my hon. Friend says. I think the best way forward would be for me to meet him to discuss his specific proposals and see what can be done.