Support for Co-operation is vital for next Government

Co-operativesUK has launched a ‘co-operative call to action’ for the forthcoming General Election asking all political parties to focus on co operation as a major force in addressing issues ranging from economic renewal to fairness in society.

Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operativesUK, said: “Unprecedented events such as the financial crisis and the climate threat show the importance of co-operation.

“There is increasing evidence that people are co-operative as much as they are also competitive and we wish to see the next government make a commitment to encourage a diverse economy where the co-operative business model features strongly.”

The call to action addresses five key areas including: economic renewal; social innovation; a fairer society; climate change and digital futures.

Key asks of the next government include:

  • A clear vision for supporting the development of co-operatives;
  • A clear policy framework to define how co-operatives can deliver public services;
  • An ‘emergency support service’ for struggling pubs, enabling people to save their pubs from closure using the co-operative model;
  • A wholesale review of energy markets to hand greater power and control to users of energy through co-operatives;
  • A programme to encourage rural communities to take control of digital services by promoting community ownership and implementation of fibre-optic broadband access to rural communities in the UK.

Ed Mayo said: “As the UK is now technically out of recession, the time really has come for a new agenda of co-operation.

“The financial and ensuing economic crisis has had negative impacts on many enterprises. However, co-operatives across the globe are showing resilience to the crisis. Financial co-operatives, in particular, remain financially sound and consumer co-operatives are reporting increased turnover. Current debate in the UK about employee owned co-operatives is welcome and there is growth in such co-operatives as people choose the co-operative form in response to new economic realities.

As businesses with a member and community focus, they are able to deliver both in strictly financial terms but also as an important alternative to a solely investor led model.”

 Co-operativesUK has contributed to the Mutuals Manifesto, published by Mutuo, and it can be viewed here:-

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Alex Bird is an experienced co-operative searcher and activist. Follow him @coopalex3
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