13.6m now members of co-operatives as total jumps 700,000 in year
Membership of co-operatives has increased by 700,000 over the past year, bringing the total to 13.6 million, new figures show.
There are now more than 6,800 independent co-operatives, with the membership surge driven by the Co-op Group as well as community-owned businesses and credit unions.
Trade body Co-operatives UK said there has also been a new trend for co-ops among young people working in digital and creative industries.
Ed Mayo, secretary-general of Co-operatives UK, said: "Underlying the political shocks the country has experienced over the last year is a call from many parts of the UK population for an economy over which they have more of a say and from which they get a fair share.
"As organisations owned by 13.6 million people, the UK's 7,000 co-ops give people a say in what they do and how their profits are used.
"They offer a practical way to reimagine an economy in which people have more control over their homes, work and local areas.
"It's no surprise we're seeing a spike in interest in co-ops, whether it's social care providers finding that a co-operative approach can give its users and workers a voice, or young designers and web developers seeing co-ops as a natural way to collaborate at work."