NI Assembly to set up co-ops group

The Northern Ireland Assembly in Belfast is set to become the latest devolved administration to establish a cross-party group on co-operatives and mutuals.

The grouping is seeking to “provide a platform for MLAs and others with an interest in co-operation and mutuality to increase awareness of the co-operative model and its contribution to Northern Ireland’s social and economic development”.

To be chaired by Alliance Pary MLA, Anna Lo, the group wants to promote co-operation as a vital component of the province’s future and to work with the Assembly, the Co-operative Forum (NI) and the sector to sustain and increase co-operative and mutual activity.

Vice-Chair will be DUP MLA Jim Wells, while Sinn Fein’s Jennifer McCann is Secretary and Alban Maginness of the SDLP is Treasurer. At a preliminary meeting last week, members agreed to establish links with the cross-party groups on co-ops and mutuals in the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly.

The group’s next meeting is set to be in September.

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