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The Outer Hebrides head the list of places with the highest ratio of co-operative businesses to people, with Argyll and Bute is ninth on the Co-op Economy list published on August 28.
The Scottish isles’ thriving co-op sector – organisations owned and controlled by their members, which operate across all sectors – includes community energy organisations, farming and fishing co-ops, community shops and credit unions.
Ed Mayo, Co-operatives UK Secretary general, said: ‘When needs are so acute in remote and rural areas there’s a necessity and greater impetus for people to work together. There’s strength in being able to rely on others, on being part of a co-op.
‘The entire UK economy could learn a lot from the extraordinary success of the Scottish isles, where co-ops play a lead role. With Brexit looming, more co-ops can help pave the way for an island economy that doesn’t just serve the rich.
‘Co-ops are more equitable; wealth is shared among members and they enrich the communities in which they operate. Not only are they better for society, but they’ve also got a much greater chance of surviving the difficult first few years of a new business.’
Read the full report: www.uk.coop/economy