CO-OPERATIVES and mutual enterprises have grown faster than the UK economy in the past five years.

The finding comes in a review which highlights the sector's resilience on the face of major difficulties at The Co-operative Group and The Co-op Bank, writes Scott Wright.

A disastrous year for the Co-op Group saw it post the heaviest losses in its 150-year history, while a £1.5 billion hole was revealed by its banking arm.

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However, a new report has underlined the "untold story" of the co-ops' economic contribution.

The annual review by Co-operatives UK found co-op businesses have grown by 13.5 per cent since 2009, compared with gross domestic product growth of 6.6 per cent in that time.

It found Scottish co-ops turned over £4.2 billion in 2013, equal to £793 per head of population, with Scotland's First Milk and the Scottish Midland Co-operative Society making the top ten financial ranking for the first time.

Sarah Deas, of Co-operative Development Scotland, said the report "demonstrates the resilience of co-operatives and their role in driving economic growth".