A VISION of a more co-operative Britain under would-be Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been spelled out by one of the Chancellor's closest allies, Labour/Co-op MP Ed Balls.
Mr Balls, Economic Secretary to the Treasury and MP for Normanton, who was in Manchester recently to meet leaders of Co-operatives UK, the Co-op Group, CFS and ABCUL, gave an exclusive interview to Co-op News in which he defended the Government's track record in updating co-operative legislation; promised that a Gordon Brown-led administration would make social justice at home and abroad a top priority and spoke of his pride at being a Co-op MP.
The Minister said that next year's change of leadership in the Labour Party could be expected to deliver what he described as a strengthening of the co-operative agenda, whether in relation to economic matters, public services or the fight for social justice.
He emphasised that the contest for the leadership still had to be won, but said the Chancellor's actions over the past few years were a clue to how a Brown premiership would work.
Said Mr Balls: "Gordon has been a long-standing member of the Co-operative Party and his speech at the recent Labour Party conference clearly set out his desire to devolve power and engage communities collectively and individually in both the economy and in public services.
"The Co-operative Movement has shown over the years it can engage people in collective endeavours and I think we are going to see more of that."
*Full report and pictures in the next issue of Co-op News available from Tuesday October 17th.