THE CHAIR of the Co-operative Party warned delegates that cost-cutting measures across the Movement are bound to impact on the organisation.
Gareth Thomas, who chaired his fifth Co-op Party conference in Bradford, said it would lose contributions from the Co-operative Group after the society announced earlier this year it would begin to cut costs after a disappointing financial performance.
He said: "Due to the Co-operative Group's cost cutting we will lose 30 per cent of subscriptions from the society.
"As a result, the National Executive Committee of the Party may be forced to implement a cost saving regime."
During 2004 the Co-operative Group donated £ 300,000 to the Party. According to Mr Thomas' prediction of losing 30 per cent of subscription fees the Co-operative Group is set to reduce subscriptions by £ 87,000.
During his keynote speech to conference Mr Thomas told delegates to look forward to celebrating 90 years of the Co-operative Party. On 18th October 2007, the Party will be celebrating its 90th anniversary, and also in the same month its affiliation with the Labour Party for 80 years will be marked.
Mr Thomas said the Co-op Party was established to create political support for ordinary people – and there will be big celebrations to mark this in 2007.
Mr Thomas also paid tribute to Jon Owen Jones and Tony McWalter, former Co-op MPs, who lost their seats at the last general election.
He said: "It's sad to lose them, but I must place on record that the valuable contribution they have made to the Co-operative Party has been tremendous."
Mr Thomas also said that after last year's rise in membership there was a £ 60,000 increase in subscription fees. However the number of members had declined.
It was also announced that, for the first time, Labour/Co-op councillors would have their own conference.
The first annual one-day conference will be on 21st January in Birmingham. Delegates will discuss how the Co-op Party can influence local politics and get co-operatives noticed.