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The government wants to cut the red tape and get more people to set up cooperatives

Richard Bruton says Ireland needs more types of enterprises other than just companies.

Image: Shutterstock

THE GOVERNMENT IS bringing in new laws to reduce red tape and make it easier to set up a cooperative.

Minister for Jobs Richard Burton said today that it will make it more straightforward to start up and run a co-op as an alternative form of enterprise organisation.

Ireland has a large number of cooperatives including livestock marts, group water schemes, and housing cooperatives, which provide affordable housing to people on modest incomes.

Cooperatives are run by and for people in the area, offering jobs and splitting any profits that are made.

The new legislation will ease the regulatory burden on co-ops and make them easier to run, including easing financial reporting restrictions, allow co-ops to set their own limit on individual shareholdings, and ease fundraising restrictions.

“If we are to sustain the progress we have made in the economy and create jobs we will have to continue working hard to reduce business costs and red tape,” said Minister Bruton. “A crucial part of this will be to reduce those costs and red tape which are directly under the control of government”.

As we recognised in the Programme for Government, forms of enterprise organisation other than the company can play a role in meeting needs in different sectors, and I am determined to ensure the legislation governing these models supports business development and that the burden of red tape is kept to a minimum.

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The Irish Cooperative Organisation Society has estimated that co-ops employ more than 12,000 people in Ireland.

Read: How is the government revamping the social welfare system? > 

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