If co-ops are committed to the UK because they are committed to their members, how can they prepare for Brexit?
Close to one in three British businesses plan to relocate some or all of their operations abroad, according to the Institute of Directors. The Dutch government reports that it is in talks with over 250 companies about moving their operations to the Netherlands over the coming months. The front-page headline of one newspaper, pro-European, asks “Will the last business to leave the UK please turn out the lights?”
Owned by and run for millions of people in the UK, co-operatives are the most rooted of business and least likely to cut and run. Co-ops have made a virtue of their ties, promoting fair tax compared to companies who move off shore to avoid tax and building more local supply chains. The decision of the Co-op Group in 2017 to source 100% British fresh meat put it at a commercial advantage to its competitors scrambling now to secure their own domestic supply chains.