Co-op Party commissions independent report on doubling the co-operative economy

The news was announced by shadow chancellor John McDonnell who has also advocated co-op ownership of services

The Co-operative Party has commissioned an independent report from the New Economics Foundation on how to expand the co-operative sector.

The announcement was made by shadow chancellor John McDonnell at the Labour Alternative Forms of Ownership Conference on 10 February.

Mr McDonnell said he had first pledged to double the size of the co-operative economy two years ago, in his keynote speech at the Ways Forward Conference in Manchester. He added that the next Labour government aimed to transform the economy and would work with the Co-operative Party to form an implementation group to test ideas and receive feedback from the co-operative movement.

Co-operative ownership was a key theme in speeches from  the shadow chancellor and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. They said a Labour government would put services in hand of users using their knowledge inherited in the workforce to improve them. The approach would be an alternative to nationalisation.

Earlier in the week the shadow chancellor had announced the Labour Party would be setting up a Community Wealth Building Unit to support co-ops and mutuals as a means of driving local economic growth.

Responding to John McDonnell’s speech, Co-operative Party general secretary Claire McCarthy said: “We warmly welcome Labour’s commitment to a significantly expand co-operative sector, and the central role co-operatives will play in an economy where wealth and power are more widely shared.”

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She added: “The Co-operative Party has commissioned an independent report to explore what action a future government could take to help double the size of the co-operative movement.

“Separately, we will work closely with the Labour Party to convene an implementation group, which will ensure the voice of the co-operative movement is heard at the highest levels of the Labour Party as it plans for government.

“These two initiatives, together with Thursday’s announcement on local government, and the Co-operative Party’s own forthcoming report on democratic public ownership, demonstrate the significant opportunities for the co-operative movement in the years ahead.

“The Co-operative Party looks forward to working with partners in the wider labour and co-operative movements to make co-operation the template for the kind of country that together we will build.”

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