Archive for the ‘co-operatives’ Category
One of the main challenges business owners face with succession planning is deciding what form of exit suits them best. Should they go for a trade sale which will be likely to guarantee a lump sum and may be eligible for an element of Entrepreneur’s Relief – but may come at a cost of relocation, restructure or redundancies to the businesses employees?
Or, could a business owner consider an approach that is more likely to safeguard their employees’ jobs and that could also drastically reduce their exposure to capital gains tax when they sell a controlling stake in the business?
The Chancellors announcement today of a Capital Gains Tax Exemption to business owners on the sale of shares that result in a controlling interest in their company being held by an employee ownership trust is welcome news for those of us campaigning for greater awareness of the benefits of employee ownership.
The new proposals will also benefit employee owners via
changes to the income tax regime on bonuses paid to employees of companies that
are indirectly employee owned, and changes to thresholds on key
incentivised share plans.
This removes one of the last big barriers facing advocates of employee ownership as a succession option.
Previously, the Capital Gains regime in Britain had not made any distinction between a business sold for employee ownership and a business sold to another business purely for profit. A high level of employee ownership and engagement has been proven through various studies to increase the innovation and productivity within a business. The new exemption recognises this and now dangles a very enticing carrot in front of business owners who were previously unconvinced of the benefits.
At the Wales Co-operative Centre, we are grateful for the support we have received from both Welsh Government and through European Funding to promote and implement employee ownership in Wales. These new measures compliment the work we are already doing and should lead to a marked increase in indigenous employee owned business in Wales over the next few years.
For further information on how the Wales Co-operative Centre can help business owners to assess their companies’ suitability for conversion to employee ownership, visit the website www.walescooperative.org or contact 03001115050.
Rhian Edwards is manager of the Welsh Government and European Regional Development Fund succession project at the Wales Co-operative Centre.
Arbenigedd Cymreig ar Ddatblygu Mudiadau Cydweithredol wedi ei Amlygu Mewn Cynhadledd yn y Weriniaeth Tsiec
Yn gynharach eleni, daeth grŵp o Weriniaeth
Tsiec i Gymru i gwrdd â gwahanol grwpiau sy’n gweithio yn y trydydd sector a
chyfarfod â chynrychiolwyr o Ganolfan Cydweithredol Cymru fel rhan o’u
hymweliad . Ym mis Hydref, cynhaliodd y grŵp Tsiec ymweliad gyfnewid ar gyfer
eu gwestywyr Cymreig, Planed, a gwahoddodd y Ganolfan i ymuno â nhw i fynychu
eu cynhadledd flynyddol. Teithiodd Mike Williams o’r tîm Cymorth i Fentrau
Cymdeithasol i’r Weriniaeth Tsiec i siarad yn eu cynhadledd flynyddol ar y
pynciau o Gymru, cyd -weithrediad yng Nghymru , ac yn enwedig ar waith y
Ganolfan Gydweithredol Cymru.
‘Roedd ein gwestywyr mewn
gwirionedd yn Grŵp Gweithredu Lleol yn seiliedig yn nhref Borovany, rhiw ddwy
awr i’r de o Prague a dim ond tua ugain milltir o ffin Awstria . Fel rhan o’r
gwaith , mae’r grŵp yn mynd ati i hyrwyddo datblygiad bragdy cydweithredol
posibl ac roeddent yn awyddus i dynnu ar brofiad y Ganolfan i ddarparu
gwybodaeth ac arweiniad priodol.
‘Roedd y gynhadledd ei hun yn ei chynnal mewn lleoliad gwledig y tu allan i’r
dref ac ‘roedd yn fater cymharol fach a fynychwyd gan gynrychiolwyr o bob rhan
o’r rhanbarth. Maent ymysg y cyntaf i geisio datblygu’r mudiad cydweithredol yn
y wlad hon roedd gynt yn un comiwnyddol . Mae hyn yn her gwir iawn ac un yr ydym
wedi bod yn ffodus i beidio â phrofi yng Nghymru.
Yn dilyn etholiadau 1946, datblygodd y Comiwnyddion y blaid wleidyddol gryfaf
ac wedyn enillwyd rheolaeth ar y llywodraeth Tsiecoslofacia ym 1948. Wedi
hynny, caiff y wlad ei droi yn Sofietaidd – arddull wladwriaeth a pharhaodd i
fod yn wlad Gomiwnyddol tan y ‘chwyldro melfed’ yn 1989. Ar ôl hynny gafodd
Tsiecoslofacia ei rhannu yn ôl i’w hen rannau cyfansoddiadol, sef y Weriniaeth
Tsiec a Slofacia.
Yn ystod y cyfnod hwn, pedwar deg un o
flynyddoedd, bu’r term ‘cydweithredol’ gydag ystyr cwbl newydd. Cymerodd y
llywodraeth i reoli llawer o fusnesau oedd yn bodoli eisoes a’i rhedeg ei hun o
dan y faner ‘cydweithredol ‘, er wrth gwrs nad oeddent yn gydweithredol mewn
unrhyw ystyr byddem ni yn deall. Fel y cyfryw, mae’r term wedi golygu
arwyddocâd negyddol i lawer o bobl. Dyma pam mae’r ymdrechion sy’n bellach yn
cael eu gwneud i ail-sefydlu cwmnïau cydweithredol yn eu ffurf wir yn wynebu
her emosiynol go iawn yn ogystal â materion economaidd a chymunedol arferol .
Am y rheswm hwn, mae’n fraint arbennig i
allu gwneud cyfraniad at y gwaith pwysig yma. ‘Roedd y diwrnod cyntaf o’r
gynhadledd yn gymharol anffurfiol lle nad oedd Mike i fod i siarad. Fodd
bynnag, gan na fyddai rhai yn mynychu’r ail ddiwrnod gofynnwyd iddo roi fersiwn
gwahanol o’i gyflwyniad i’r rhai oedd yn bresennol fel eitem ychwanegol,
derfynol i’r diwrnod. Derbyniwyd hyn yn dda ac ar ôl y gynhadledd ddod i ben
gofynnwyd iddo fynd i gyfarfod y rhai oedd yn gweithio tuag at y bragdy
cydweithredol, er mwyn rhannu profiadau cleientiaid yng Nghymru sy’n rhedeg
tafarndai cymunedol . Yn bresennol yn y cyfarfod hwn oedd y bragwr lleol, sef
yr arbenigwr technegol y grŵp, a wahoddodd Mike i ymweld â’i fragdy ei hun y
Roedd ail ddiwrnod y gynhadledd yn fwy ffurfiol, ac unwaith eto cafodd
gyflwyniad Mike dderbyniad da . Fel rhan o’r diwrnod gallodd dderbyn y
gwahoddiad i ymweld â’r bragdy masnachol lleol, lle’r oedd arbrofi’r cynnyrch yn dasg i gael eu dioddef
Yn gyffredinol, roedd profodd yr ymweliad yn un llwyddiannus iawn, a bu’n
gwasanaethu i’n hatgoffa bod gennym brofiad ac arbenigedd yng Nghymru sy’n cael
ei edmygu mewn gwledydd eraill, ac ni ddylem fod yn araf i gydnabod hyn. Ar y
llaw arall bu hefyd yn gwasanaethu fel atgof o’r gred gynyddol bod cydweithio
yn ddewis dilys, cadarnhaol a realistig ar gyfer cymunedau, ac yn cael ei
ddilyn gan lawer sydd wedi dioddef llawer mwy o anawsterau na ni. Mae gennym
lawer i’w rannu ac i ddysgu oddi wrth ein gilydd, ac rydym yn gobeithio y gall
y cysylltiadau sydd bellach wedi’i sefydlu yn cael ei ddatblygu ymhellach ar
gyfer ein budd ar y ddwy ochr.
Earlier this year a group from the Czech Republic came to
Wales to meet with various groups working within the third sector. As part of their visit they met with
representatives from the Wales Co-operative Centre.
In October 2013, the Czech group hosted a return visit for
their Welsh hosts Planed, and invited the Centre to attend their
annual conference. Mike Williams of the Centre’s Social Enterprise Support team travelled
to the Czech Republic to address the conference on the subjects of Wales, co-operation
in Wales, and in particular, the work of the Wales Co-operative Centre.
The hosts were a local action group based in Borovany, a town
which is around a two-hour drive south of Prague and only twenty miles from the
Austrian border. As part of its work, the group is actively promoting the
development of a co-operative brewery and was keen to draw on the Centre’s
experience to provide appropriate knowledge and guidance.
The conference itself was held in a rural venue outside the
town and was a relatively small affair, attended by delegates from throughout
the region. These people are amongst the first to try and revive the co-operative
movement in this formerly communist country. This presents a very real
challenge, one which we have been fortunate not to experience in Wales.
elections were held in 1946, the Communists became the dominant political party
and gained control of the Czechoslovakian government in 1948. Thereafter, the
former democracy was turned into a Soviet-style state and remained a Communist
country until the ‘velvet revolution’ of 1989 when Czechoslovakia was divided
back into its former constituent parts of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
this forty-one year period the term ‘co-operative’ took on an entirely new
meaning, whereby the government took control of many existing businesses and
ran them itself under the ‘co-operative’ banner, although of course they were
not co-operatives in any sense we would understand. As such, the very term has deeply-embedded
negative connotations for many people and the efforts now being made to
re-establish co-operatives in their true form face a very real emotional
challenge as well as the usual economic and community issues.
this reason it was particularly rewarding to be able to make a contribution to
the work currently being undertaken. The first conference day was an informal
affair where Mike was not scheduled to speak. However, as some of those present
would not be attending the second day, he was asked to give a summary of his presentation
to those present. This was well received and after the conference ended he was
asked to attend an evening meeting of those who were working towards the brewery
co-operative, in order to share the experiences of client groups in Wales who run
community pubs. Present at this meeting was a local brewer, the group’s
technical expert, who invited Mike to visit his own brewery the following day.
second day of conference was more formal, and again Mike’s presentation was
well received. As part of the day he was able to take up the invitation to
visit the existing – but still new – local commercial brewery where the
obligatory product testing had to be endured, however reluctantly!
the visit proved to be a great success, and served as a reminder that in Wales
we have experience and expertise which is admired in other countries, and we
should not be slow to acknowledge this. On the other hand it also served as a
reminder of the continually growing belief that co-operation is a valid,
positive and realistic alternative for communities, and is pursued by many who
have endured far greater setbacks than we have. We have much to share and to
learn from each other, and hope that the links now established can be further
developed for our mutual benefit.
Wales Co-operative Centre
The Wales Co-operative Centre was set up thirty years ago and ever since has been helping businesses grow, people to find work and communities to tackle the issues that matter to them. Its advisors work co-operatively across Wales, providing expert, flexible and reliable support to develop sustainable businesses and strong, inclusive communities.
The Community Shares Unit ran a series of free workshops in November to showcase the forthcoming Community Shares Handbook. Jan Barwell, Development Officer on the Wales Co-operative Centre’s Social Enterprise Support project, went along to find out more…
“The Community Shares Handbook is one of several tools and resources that helps advisers to champion the community shares approach and disseminate best practice. I attended the Bristol workshop on the 26th Nov 2013 at Triodos Bank, which covered key areas of guidance which will be included in the handbook. These include legal form, share typology, offer documents and financial returns, along with other topics. Advisers contributed their opinions and experience allowing the CSU to capture this knowledge so they can ensure that theory meets practice!
The Community Shares Unit is a dedicated support service for those interested in and involved with community share offers. Delivered by Co-operatives UK and Locality and backed by the Department for Communities and Local Government, they have developed a website as a valuable resource for anyone interested in community shares. It offers advice pages for;
- community enterprises considering or developing share offers
- supporters who are interested in purchasing shares
- advisers who provide support and assistance to enterprises considering and developing share offers
The website includes;
- information on the activities and the team involved with the Community Shares Unit
- Microgenius, their new online tool to help societies co-ordinate share offers on the web
CSU works with partners to develop standards of good practice, encourage policy reforms and raise awareness to support the growth of community shares. It acts a central reference point for market intelligence, providing the latest information on community share activities nationwide, as well as producing regularly-updated guidance materials. The unit also operates as a dynamic hub for support, building relationships with networks and organisations to signpost communities, investors and other interested parties to the most appropriate forms of advice and assistance to develop new share offers and support existing ones. Finally, it acts as a strong platform for profiling the community share model, raising awareness of the value of the approach to new entrants and facilitating peer support and networking to those already involved in community shares.”
For further information visit http://communityshares.org.uk/find-out-more/about-community-shares-unit
The Welsh Government has announced that it is inviting applications for funding from the £1.5 million SME Small Capital Investment Grant fund – but you will have to be quick to be in with a chance to apply.
The funding is designed for capital projects that aim to encourage investment to support the creation and safeguarding of jobs but is only available until January next year.
The SME Small Capital Investment Grant is open to eligible small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Wales. Businesses have until 20th January 2014 to bid for grants of between £5,000 and £25,000 towards the cost of their project at an intervention rate of up to 50%. Match funding is available for projects costing between £5,000 and £25,000.
The fund is managed by the Business Wales one stop shop service. In order to access the grant, you will need to contact a Business Wales Business Advisor as soon as possible. Further information can be found on the Business Wales website or by contacting the Business Wales Helpline on 03000 6 03000.
Katija Dew, Programme Director for Financial Inclusion at the Wales Co-operative Centre, reflects on all things borrowing and debt in the light of new research published today by the Money Advice Service.
So, according to the Money Advice Service who launched their ‘Indebted Lives’ report today, that’s almost 9 million people across the UK that can’t pay and feel a ‘heavy burden’ of debt.
For the research, 5000 people across the land were interviewed about money management. The data and findings in the report are both shocking and compelling.
Let’s start at the beginning. What is the difference between credit and debt? In essence, credit is borrowing that is manageable and being repaid. When it can’t be paid back as per the contract, it becomes debt.
Hardly a day goes by without headlines about payday lending, debt and money troubles. But are we taking enough notice of the warnings? It seems that some people are, and others are not. Credit unions report to me a reduction in the number of applications for moderate to large sized loans. Some people are reining in their spending but at same time we hear in the news that a higher proportion of earning, young unmarried men with no children are borrowing from pay day lenders…and then having difficulty repaying.
This is worrying, and it begs the question, what are we storing up for the future?
The mood at the report’s launch was helpfully analytical with a pragmatic debate about possible solutions.
For example, the Resolution Foundation’s analysis of the data helped with my musings about how some people are borrowing more and others are borrowing less. It seems that, since 2012, those with a ‘higher financial net worth’ (ie that own more) are borrowing less. Those with a ‘lower financial net worth’ are borrowing more.
In addition lower income households in debt typically owe many multiples of their income, where higher income households owe a higher value but this is a lower percentage of their income. So, lower income households worry much more about the amount they owe, which will be much more of a struggle to pay off.
This data is going to be extremely valuable and will take some time to wade through.
Whatever the detail, we know that debt is increasing. We know that when people seek help that they need it quickly, and that financial capability is a consistent message that we come back to, time and again.
Dave Palmer, Co-operative Housing Project Manager for the Wales Co-operative Centre welcomes the introduction of the new Housing Bill.
A new Housing (Wales) Bill was launched by Housing Minister Carl Sargeant on Monday (18th November) and it includes measures that will greatly support the development of co-operative housing in Wales.
The Bill takes forward proposals set out in the White Paper “Homes for Wales” in 2012. It sets out a series of legislative proposals that will make a difference to people and communities in Wales by:
* Helping people access a decent, affordable home and ensuring those at risk of becoming homeless receive the help they need.
* Raising standards in the private rented sector and placing a greater emphasis on action to prevent people from becoming homeless.
* Assisting the expansion of co-operative housing as another way of increasing the supply of affordable homes.
This is important, because in terms of co-operative housing, the Bill will assist the expansion of this co-operative approach by improving arrangements for people who wish to join or leave a co-operative.
Proposed measures to boost co-operative housing by allowing fully mutual housing co-operatives to grant both assured and assured short-hold tenancies are to be welcomed. They will create more security for tenants and help co-operatives obtain finance from lenders.
Keith Edwards, Director at the Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru agrees.
“Wales is creating a distinct approach to meet national housing needs, with considerable cross-party consensus and multi-sector support, under the ‘system stewardship’ of Welsh Government. The Bill contains diverse, Welsh-crafted solutions, to improve consumer protection, raise standards across all sectors and protect our most vulnerable and disadvantaged citizens by prioritising the reduction of homelessness”.
The new Bill encourages the development of innovative approaches to housing supply and in particular to the development of co-operative housing in Wales. We in the Wales Co-operative Centre welcome the Bill and the positive impact it will make to tenants in Wales. Assured tenancies for fully mutual (co-operative) housing associations are good news for future co-operative tenants!
For further information about the Wales Co-operative Centre’s Co-operative Housing Project visit Wales Co-operative Centre’s website or call 0300 111 5050