Andy Burnham’s boost for Greater Manchester co-op sector

The mayor wants the devolved authority to establish the region as a leading centre of co-operation

Greater Manchester’s Labour/Co-op mayor Andy Burnham says he wants the devolved authority to become ‘the most co-operative place in the UK’.

Mr Burnham made the remarks as he launched the Co-operative Commission, which will look for ways the authority can support the sector.

The commission, set up in partnership with the Co-operative Party, will work with the region’s co-ops and other experts to gather evidence on how the sector improves education attainment, reduces inequality, creates high-quality jobs and provides solutions in the provision of key services. 

These were the four goals set out in the Greater Manchester Strategy Our People, Our Place, launched last October.

Chaired by Rochdale Council leader Allen Brett, the commission also wants to identify ways to help co-ops grow and expand into new sectors of the region’s economy. Its findings and recommendations will be published in a report.

Mr Burnham said the launch marks the point “where we begin to think how new forms of ownership and community engagement can provide solutions to the challenges we face in our economy and our society.

“We’ll see if we can put co-operative values right where there should be, at the heart of Greater Manchester.”

He added: “As a Co-operative mayor, I recognise how important this is to Greater Manchester and I am looking forward to working with Allen to establish a clear pathway of how we can continue to put Greater Manchester at the forefront of co-operative development.

“Greater Manchester should be the most co-operative region in the UK and the most natural place for new co-ops and social enterprises to start and thrive. This is a very strong commitment to ensure we do that to ultimately benefit the lives of people and businesses across the city-region.”

Co-operative Party general secretary Claire McCarthy said: “As well as being a better way of doing business, co-operatives are a catalyst for transforming communities and the wider economy. That’s why I am delighted that Mayor Andy Burnham and the region’s council leaders have announced the launch a Co-operative Commission for Greater Manchester.

“This is an important piece of work which we hope will lay the groundwork for a fairer, stronger Greater Manchester, with co-operative values and approaches put at the heart of the region’s economy.”

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