SCOTTISH Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson has predicted a bright future for the new Co-operation and Mutuality Scotland organistation, which was officially launched at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on Wednesday.
The launch of CMS, which has been created by a merger of the Scottish Sectional Board of Co-operatives UK and the Scottish Co-operative and Mutual Forum, was attended by a large number of MSPs and representatives of co-operative organisations from both sides of the border.
Ms Jamieson, Labour/Co-op MSP for Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley, whose commitment to the Movement dates from her childhood days as a member of the Woodcraft Folk, told guests at the Parliament's Committee Room 1 that CMS is a big step forward for the sector in Scotland.
"There's a huge agenda for us to tackle and we have made quite a step change by bringing together local social economy inititatives and the very successful big co-operative businesses. The Labour/Co-op group at Holyrood will be playing its part by setting the co-operative agenda in a Parliamentary context."
Wishing the new body well, Co-operatives UK Chief Executive Pauline Green predicted that CMS would be very important and would become the organisation's interface with institutions in Scotalnd.
But she reminded her audience that co-operation is about business with a social agenda and not simply the "soft end of voluntary services."
The Liberal Democrats' Enterprise spokesman in the Scottish Parliament Jamie Stone MSP brandished his well-used Scottish Co-op divi card as he praised the Movement's support for Fairtrade and it's community roots and connections.
Added Mr Stone: "The Enterprise Committee is in agreement with the aims and objectives of CMS, so I believe we can advance a common agenda."
Martin Meteyard, newly-elected chair of CMS, is pictured with Johann Lamont, convenor of the Co-op group of MSPs.