End of Year Review 2016: Politics

ELECTIONS… January: Co-op Party launches manifesto for Wales A Manifesto for Wales was launched by the Co-operative Party in the run-up to the Welsh Assembly elections. The party, which is...

ELECTIONS…

January: Co-op Party launches manifesto for Wales
A Manifesto for Wales was launched by the Co-operative Party in the run-up to the Welsh Assembly elections. The party, which is fielded 17 candidates at the 5 May election, called for all parts of Wales to be co-operative.
The party proposed:

  • A Minister with responsibility for co-op development.
  • An authoritative Co-operatives and Mutuals Strategy Unit
  • Support and recognition for an alliance or forum to strengthen links and mutual support across all parts of the movement in Wales
  • Support for the Wales Co-operative Centre as the UK’s leading co-op development agency and clear signposting for the co-op option by other business advice agents.

May: London chooses Labour mayor who backs a co-op future
Labour’s Sadiq Khan, who has pledged a number of co-operative proposals for London, was elected mayor of the capital. In the lead up to the election, he unveiled a manifesto “for all Londoners”, which included proposals for co-operative, mutual and not-for-profit organisations.

May: Co-op gains in Scotland and Wales
In the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections, the Co-operative Party won eight seats in its pact with Scottish Labour – there were four candidates standing for re-election. In Wales, there were 11 Labour / Co-operative AMs, up from the previous nine. Later, Welsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones announced his government, which includes three Labour/Co-op Assembly Members (AMs).

 

CO-OP LOBBYING…

January: Sharing profits with workers increases productivity, Parliament hears
Workers who receive a share of the profits from their workplace can solve the UK’s productivity problems, said Co-operative Party chairman Gareth Thomas. The Labour/Co-operative MP introduced a bill into the House of Commons which would give workers the right to receive a payout from employers.

July: MPs demand tax reliefs and legislative changes to grow the co-operative economy
In a debate at Westminster Hall on 14 July, MPs highlighted ways in which the government could help to promote and grow the co-operative sector even more. Stephen Doughty, Labour and Co-operative MP for Cardiff and Penarth, who secured the debate, highlighted how the co-operative economy had grown in recent years, with membership increasing by 10% to 17.5 million.

 

NORTHERN IRELAND…

July: Co-op Alternatives calls for political support for co-ops in NI
Co-operative Alternatives is an organisation dedicated to promoting the co-operative movement in Northern Ireland. At its AGM in Belfast, representatives of co-ops, credit unions and social enterprises called on the Northern Ireland Executive – the administrative branch of the Northern Ireland Assembly – to do more to support the co-operative movement. 

Northern Ireland co-ops engage with Assembly Members – November – Politics
Over 30 organisations from across Northern Ireland met Assembly members at a Stormont event to promote the co-operative sector. Organised by Social Enterprise NI in partnership with Co-operative Alternatives, ‘What a co-operative looks like’, was hosted by the Stormont all-party group on social enterprises and co‑operatives to highlight the impact and diversity of the sector in an effort to gain political support.

John McDonnell delivering his speech at the Co-operative Party conference in Cardiff (c) Co-operative Party/Natasha Hirst
John McDonnell delivering his speech at the Co-operative Party conference in Cardiff (c) Co-operative Party/Natasha Hirst

LABOUR SUPPORT FOR CO-OPS…

John McDonnell repeats his support for co-ops at Labour Party Conference – October – Politics
With Jeremy Corbyn re-elected as leader of the Labour Party, shadow chancellor John McDonnell presented the Party’s agenda, with a strong emphasis on co-operatives and employee-owned businesses. Speaking at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool, Mr McDonnell said the incoming Labour government would be an “interventionist” one, and talked about plans to rewrite the takeover code and how Labour would seek to tackle tax avoidance.

Corbyn’s digital democracy manifesto promotes co-operative ownership of digital platforms  – September – politics
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn pledged to launch a digital revolution by fostering the co-operative ownership of digital platforms. Mr Corbyn, who at the time was being [unsuccessfully] challenged for the party’s leadership by Owen Smith, talked of provisions for a national investment bank and regional banks to help finance social enterprises whose websites and apps are designed to minimise the costs of connecting producers with consumers in different sectors of the economy.

In this article

Join the Conversation