Election 2017: What can co-operatives expect from the next government?

Most co-operators will be looking at Jeremy Corbyn thanks to Labour’s links to the movement but the polls are predicting a victory for Theresa May

Labour is the party most traditionally associated with co-operatives, which is underpinned through its electoral agreement with the Co-operative Party, which co-sponsors MPs.

So most co-operators will watch Jeremy Corbyn’s actions ahead of the 8 June general election. The Labour leader has set the party up as the underdog, against Theresa May’s call to continue her leadership under a Conservative government.

In his first speech at Church House, Westminster, Mr Corbyn said: “The dividing lines in this election could not be clearer from the outset.

Related: Co-op sector’s wishlist for the election campaign

“It is the Conservatives, the party of privilege and the richest, versus the Labour Party, the party that is standing up for working people to improve the lives of all.

Jeremy Corbyn says the election represents ‘the establishment versus the people’

“It is the establishment versus the people, and it is our historic duty to make sure that the people prevail.”

In a comment that chimes with the values of co-operatives, Mr Corbyn added that the “people of Britain” must share in the country’s wealth.

He said: “We will focus on giving people real control over their own lives and make sure that everybody reaps a just reward for the work that they do.

“We will no longer allow those at the top to leech off of those who bust their guts on zero hours contracts or those forced to make sacrifices to pay their mortgage or their rent.

“Instead of the country’s wealth being hidden in tax havens we will put it in the hands of the people of Britain as they are the ones who earned it.”

Compare this to Theresa May’s rhetoric, which is focused on ensuring a Tory government has a stronger hand during Brexit negotiations.

In her first campaign speech in Bolton, the prime minister said: “This election is about providing the strong and stable leadership this country needs to take Britain through Brexit and beyond. It’s about strengthening our hand in the negotiations that lie ahead.

“And it’s about sticking to our plan for a stronger Britain that will enable us to secure that more stable and secure future for this country and take the right long-term decision for the future. It’s about strong and stable leadership in the national interest.”

Related: What policies will the Co-op Party take into the campaign?

Looking beyond Brexit, Mrs May said another five years of the Conservatives will focus on “building a stronger economy”. Giving an indication of the party’s policies, she said: “It’s about creating well paid secure jobs. It’s about ensuring that there is opportunity for all.

“That we provide a good school place for every child. That there is affordable housing. That people can get on in their lives. It’s about ensuring that we create a more united nation.”

Polls are predicting landslide for May

Pollsters are tipping the Conservatives for a landslide win by a majority of 100 seats, according to polls published in both the Times and Telegraph.

In response, the Green Party is urging Labour and the Liberal Democrats to be more tactical in the election and ensure the best candidate from either party stands in particular seats. If successful, this could lead to a progressive coalition, which might see more policy ideas coming from some of the smaller parties.

The Liberal Democrats has positioned itself as “the real voice of opposition” to the “Conservative Brexit government”.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said it would “protect Scotland’s interests”. It will aim to “end austerity” and calls for greater “investment in our public services”.

The Green Party said it would campaign for free education, a living wage for all and investment in mental health services.

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