My Co-operative manifesto

** Download my Co-operative mini manifesto here (PDF)**

I’m proud to be a Labour and Co-operative MP – and the first Co-op MP to stand to be Labour leader. That’s because I believe in the co-op vision of people working together for the benefit of the whole community, of a society that values all the people and makes sure that they are heard, and which knows we can only achieve our goals of social justice and equal chances for all through collective action.

We are Labour and co-operators because in times of hardship we choose not selfishness but solidarity and we never settle for second best in our fight for social justice.

Co-operatives play a critical part in our economy by making business accountable to those whom they serve. They are driven by the belief that people achieve most when they work together, and that the rewards from business should be shared with those who produce them. At the heart of their success are the fundamental values of equality, democracy and participation.

In this manifesto, I am proposing three steps to help develop and grow the co-operative and mutual sector in our country:

  • Recognition for co-operative enterprise

A level playing field for co-operative and mutual business

  • A financial services sector that serves people instead of banks

An unequivocal policy commitment that promotes mutual financial institutions

  • Putting the people into public services

Support for public services to be more directly accountable to the people they serve

My record in Government shows that I am serious about promoting the co-operative agenda. As Economic Secretary and the first Labour and Co-operative Minister responsible for mutuals and financial services I ensured Government support for the modernisation of co-operative law.

In that role I was also able to give the Treasury’s support for a new Private Members Bill that led to the creation of the first ever ‘super-mutual’ bringing Britannia Building Society and the Co-op Bank together in the interests of customers, rather than the banking elite.

When I became Schools Secretary, we took the radical step of supporting the establishment of co-operative trust schools – to give parents and the whole community a greater say in their local school, without expecting them to go it alone and set up their own new school in competition to others, as the Tories want.

As Leader I would make mutualism central to our policy thinking. We must root mutualism in Labour values and develop policies that put it into action to benefit individuals and communities.

That’s why in this Co-op manifesto I am setting out the next steps we should take to bring about my vision for a more co-operative society. This will help us to see off the Conservatives’ outrageous attempt to exploit co-operative ideas for their own very different political purposes – using the language of co-ops as a cover for cuts, the language of mutualism to disguise policies which will lead to unfairness and injustice.

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Posted September 11th, 2010 by Ed

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