The Co-operative Party has unveiled its policy platform for the general election on 8 June, calling for “a co-operative plan for Britain where power and wealth are shared”.
The policy list includes proposals to reform the housing, banking and energy sectors by promoting community co-ops and credit unions, with regulatory changes to help co-ops in those sectors, and mutual and multi-stakeholder options for transport and public utilities.
The document says: “We urgently need a more inclusive economy that distributes rewards more fairly, successfully seizes new opportunities, and effectively supports communities through the inevitable changes ahead. We are clear that the only way to build this is to put co-operation at its heart.”
Economic policies include:
- Doubling the size of the UK co-op sector by creating a level playing field for co‑operative businesses providing tailored support, and reducing tax and regulatory burdens;
- Increased incentives, support and funding for employee ownership, including tax relief and statutory “right to request” legislation on business succession;
- Action to encourage responsible business practice, including legislation requiring profit sharing in firms with more than 50 employees, board representation for workers and stronger governance;
- Stronger consumer rights, such as a single consumer ombudsman and board representation for consumers;
- Protection for workers in the gig economy, including union representation;
- Fair tax legislation to bring in greater transparency and country-by-country reporting.
There are also proposals to support regional communities, to correct the current imbalance towards London and the South East, including a network of regional banks to support co-ops, social enterprises and SMEs.
Alongside improved funding for local government, the “co-operative devolution agenda” includes supporting the development of local co-ops; involving service users in commissioning, design and delivery of services; promoting co-operative start-ups; and developing collective action and control over local assets.
The Party would also like to see more support for co-operative councils, a stronger Localism Act to protect community assets and the transfer of power and assets to communities.
Localism is also key to the Party’s ideas for public service reform, with co-operative models for health and social care “care recipients, their families and care workers”.
Proposals include extending the “right to own”, giving private sector care workers first refusal to take over struggling companies and support for social care mutuals.
The Party also wants greater community involvement in policing and justice, and in education, wants to extend the co-operative schools model to further and higher education.
In sport, the policy platform includes improved support and regulation for fan-owned clubs, with tax incentives and the guaranteed option to buy up to 10% of the shares in a club if it transfers ownership.
The Party has announced its list of 52 candidates who will be standing in the general election on 8 June. They are as follows (candidates defending their seats from the last Parliament in bold).
Alex Sobel (Leeds North West); Sharon Taylor (Stevenage); Gerard Killen (Rutherglen & Hamilton West); Cara Hilton (Dunfermline & West Fife); Gordon Munro (Edinburgh North & Leith); Paul Sweeney (Glasgow North East); Matt Kerr (Glasgow South West); Preet Gill (Birmingham Edgbaston); Stella Creasy (Walthamstow); Louise Ellman (Liverpool Riverside); Mike Gapes (Ilford South); Rachel Eden (Wantage); Luke Pollard (Plymouth Sutton and Devonport); John Woodcock (Barrow and Furness); Chris Leslie (Nottingham East); Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich West); Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield); Chris Evans (Islwyn); Meg Hillier (Hackney South & Shoreditch); Geraint Davies (Swansea West); Ian Davidson (Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk); Jonathan Reynolds (Stalybridge & Hyde); Philippa Davey (South West Devon); Mark Hendrick (Preston); Stephen Twigg (Liverpool West Derby); Jonathan Ashworth (Leicester South), Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South and Penarth); Seema Malhotra (Feltham & Heston); David Drew (Stroud); Steve Reed (Croydon North); Anna Turley (Redcar); Lucy Powell (Manchester Central); Gavin Shuker (Luton South); Gareth Thomas (Harrow West); Neil Dawson (Morley and Outwood); Luciana Berger (Liverpool Wavertree); Sarah Church (South Swindon); Vince Barry (Torridge and West Devon); Lloyd Russell-Moyle (Brighton Kemptown); Stephen Powers (Hexham); Ian McCargo (Pudsey); Alex Norris (Nottingham North); Jo Platt (Leigh); Rachael Maskell (York Central); Gareth Snell (Stoke on Trent Central); Kate Osamor (Edmonton); Sam Hale (Stone); Tracy Brabin (Batley and Spen); Jim McMahon (Oldham West & Royton); Anneliese Dodds (Oxford East); Christina Rees (Neath).