Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies (Environmentally Sustainable Investment) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:21 am on 11th September 2020.

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Photo of Andrew Lewer Andrew Lewer Conservative, Northampton South 10:21 am, 11th September 2020

The hon. Lady will be pleased to hear that I will say several things in support of the principles underlined by her and which other colleagues have touched on.

While the Bill seeks to add to the track record of this Government and previous Governments, there are several issues within it that that cannot be ignored. Some of those worry me, and although I see elements of merit in the Bill, I am hesitant about it for reasons that I will address, dealing with some of the specifics rather than only outlining problems overall for the sector, which may lead to the Minister’s scribbling out too much of his speech.

As I mentioned, co-operatives and community benefit societies add to the diverse make-up of the UK economy and are in many cases successful, with more than 72% of co-ops still flourishing after a difficult first few years, in comparison to 43% of companies overall. Those businesses are therefore a cornerstone of the UK’s economy, particularly its social economy, and have the benefit of helping to push sustainable economic development and investment in green sectors. That should be celebrated and encouraged. Many across the House will share their ambition.