Scottish Labour leader, Richard Leonard MSP, delivered a speech at the annual conference in Dundee in which he emphasised the importance of co-operative models in the Scottish economy.
Taking place on 10 March, the Scottish Labour conference was themed “Building a Scotland for the many”.
The event was the first with Mr Leonard as leader. An MSP for the Central Scotland region, he was involved in setting out Labour’s industrial strategy for Scotland.
He said the strategy recommended giving workers a statutory, preferential right to buy an enterprise when it is up for sale or facing closure. The strategy also supported the development of co-operatives, he added. Mr Leonard added that if elected, the Scottish Labour Party would fund local housing associations not only by stimulating housing co-operatives, but also by restoring powers to local councils.
“Scottish Labour is the party of jobs and industry. We are the party of co-operative development and public ownership because we believe in an economy as well as a political system which is of the people, by the people and for the people,” he said.
Also speaking at the conference was shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, who talked about the party’s anti-austerity policies.
During the event the Co-operative Party hosted a fringe meeting with speakers including Johann Lamont MSP, chair of the Scottish Co-operative Party Group of MSPs; Paul Sweeney MP, shadow Scotland minister; and Dave Watson, the head of Policy and Public Affairs at Unison Scotland. The event was chaired by the newly elected Scottish Co-operative Party chair, Rita Miller, who pointed out the success in the council election campaign increasing the number of Scottish Labour/Co-op councillors elected.