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Co-op boss: 'Huge task ahead' after reform vote

The chair of the Co-operative Group says the unanimous vote in favour of wide-ranging reforms as a "highly significant moment" for the mutual, which slumped to £2.5 billion annual losses after a period of crisis.

Ursula Lidbetter said: "I am delighted that our members have made clear their commitment to far-reaching reform of our governance with this unanimous vote.

"There is a huge task ahead of us if we are to deliver the reforms necessary to restore the Group's reputation and return it to health but the board will work hand-in-hand with our members to ensure that we seize this opportunity.

"It is vital that the right changes are put in place as soon as possible to build a more effective organisation for our members, customers and colleagues."

Read: Co-op members vote in favour of radical reforms


Co-op reform vote 'a step in the right direction'

Britain's biggest union has welcomed the vote for reform of the troubled mutual.

Adrian Jones, national officer of Unite, said: "The vote for reform is a welcome step in the right direction and one which we hope will put the Co-op Group on the road to stability.

"Going forward it is vital that our members and employees have a voice in the reform process for it to succeed and ensure the Co-op Group has a fighting chance while retaining its unique values and ethos."

Read: Co-op members vote in favour of radical reforms


Co-op ballot on slimmed down 'plc and beyond'

Former City minister Lord Myners wants to replace this with a slimmed-down "plc and beyond" structure staffed by professionally-trained directors.

The former Marks & Spencer boss was appointed a director of the Co-operative Group in December but announced he is to leave following this weekend's vote.

Former City minister Lord Myners. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

He has said it was apparent to him from the first time he attended a board meeting that not one of its members had the ability to address the complex issues faced by a group burdened with £1.4 billion of debt.

This weekend's ballot will be decided by representatives of its independent societies and affiliated organisations - who hold 22% of the vote - and others voting on behalf of its regional membership boards making up the remaining 78%.



Crucial vote will decide the future of the Co-op

A crucial poll will see the Co-op face its future later when key principles on radical reform of the troubled mutual go to the vote at a special meeting.

A crucial poll will see the Co-op face its future l Credit: : Nick Ansell/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Former City minister Lord Myners has proposed a major shake-up of the food-to-funerals business after a disastrous period saw it slump to a £2.5 billion annual loss - its worst ever - in 2013.

But Lord Myners fears that traditionalists within the 150-year-old organisation are "still stuck in denial" about its problems and will not support the plans.

These include sweeping away the existing 20-strong board of representatives from the co-operative movement, who currently include an engineer, a plasterer and a retired deputy head teacher.


Undertakers, students and customers in Co-op vote

Undertakers, students and supermarket customers will all be represented in a key poll on the future of the Co-op but none will have an individual ballot.

Block votes will decide whether the troubled food-to-funerals group takes a step towards a radical shake-up seen as vital to securing its future.

The poll will canvass support on four key principles taken from a reform plan drawn up by former City minister Lord Myners, and must achieve a simple majority of over 50% to be taken forward.

Undertakers, students and supermarket customers will vote. Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The byzantine voting structure includes a 22% share for independent societies and affiliated organisations, and the rest made up of regional boards, elected by the Co-op's area committees.

Read: Crucial vote to decide the future of the Co-op

North West householders warned about gang of fraudsters

Home-owners from our region say they were tricked into handing over tens of thousands of pounds to a gang of fraudsters.

The con was so sophisticated some of the victims had to spend years in court proving the houses they were living in were actually theirs.

One woman from Salford even discovered the gang was using her home as collateral to get loans which they spent on hotels and casinos.

This report from Tim Scott:

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