THREE leading Labour Parliamentarians have called on the Government to show more interest in the concept of co-operative housing as a means of tackling the country's housing problems.
Speaking at a House of Commons reception to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Co-operative Development Society (CDS), former Local Government Minister Nick Raynsford said it was very important to try to ensure that the provision of housing is available in a way that responds to people's needs and aspirations.
His sentiments were echoed by David Drew, Labour/Co-op MP for Stroud and chair of the all-party Housing Group at Westminster, who told guests: "We need to take the notion of housing co-operation forward.
"We need to persuade the Government to put resources into the concept and show that its an idea that is really fit for the 21st century. As we celebrate CDS's achievements over the past 30 years, we need to look forward confidently to the next 30 years."
CDS President Lord Graham of Edmonton commented: "Co-op housing has struggled and is still struggling to get the recognition it deserves. The hierarchy of the Labour movement still needs to be persuaded that they need to be more serious about supporting the idea of housing and the Co-operative Movement."
CDS chair and founder member Maureen Stables reminded guests that the organisation had developed from small beginnings, but now had over 2,800 units in management and had successfully developed 57 housing co-ops around the country.
Said Mrs Stables: "Our celebration is not just about past success. It's also about the future contribution co-operative and mutual forms of tenure can make to meeting our nation's housing needs.
"Our proposals developed over the past two years for a new form of mutual home ownership – which is designed to bring the first rung of the housing ladder back down to households who are now priced out of the market – have generated wide interest in the potential of community land trusts and co-operative ownership."
For further information on CDS, visit www.cds.coop