Co-operatives UK Secretary General Ed Mayo said: “Unprecedented events such as the financial crisis and the climate threat show the importance of co-operation.
“There is increasing evidence that people are co-operative as much as they are also competitive and we wish to see the next government make a commitment to encourage a diverse economy where the co-operative business model features strongly.”
The call to action addresses five key areas: economic renewal; social innovation; a fairer society; climate change and digital futures.
Key asks of the next government include:
• A clear vision for supporting the development of co-operatives.
• A clear policy framework to define how co-operatives can deliver public services.
• An “emergency support service” for struggling pubs, enabling people to save their pubs from closure using the co-operative model.
• A wholesale review of energy markets to hand greater power and control to users of energy through co-operatives.
• A programme to encourage rural communities to take control of digital services by promoting community ownership and implementation of fibre-optic broadband access to rural UK communities.
Mr Mayo added: “As the UK is now technically out of recession, the time really has come for a new agenda of co-operation.
“The financial and ensuing economic crisis has had negative impacts on many enterprises. However, co-operatives across the globe are showing resilience to the crisis. Financial co-operatives, in particular, remain financially sound and consumer co-operatives are reporting increased turnover.
“The current debate in the UK about employee-owned co-operatives is welcome and there is growth in such co-operatives as people choose the co-operative form in response to new economic realities.
• As reported in the previous edition of the News, Co-operatives UK has contributed to the Mutuals Manifesto, published by Mutuo, and the PDF can be viewed at http://s.coop/41