An alliance set up to promote the value of a social economy in the run-up to 2015 general election is being backed by Co-operatives UK.
The partnership between fifteen of the UK’s leading social economy organisations will show how co-operatives and social enterprises are out-performing just-for-profit companies.
Co-operatives UK joins Social Enterprise UK, New Economics Foundation, The Young Foundation and Locality, alongside others, to influence the way political parties formulate policies in advance of the next general election.
Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, told the News: “The social economy has grown in importance in the context of economic uncertainty and we want our voice to be heard. As a sector, we are labour-intensive and relatively low carbon. If banking is bust and manufacturing stuttering, the social economy could be Britain's best hope for an inclusive economic future."
John Cruddas MP, co-ordinator of Labour’s policy review, said he supports the alliance’s “important conversation” and said the social economy will need to be at the “forefront of literally rebuilding our country over the coming years”.
Meanwhile, at the recent G8 summit in Belfast, Prime Minister David Cameron said social enterprises have the "knowledge, human touch and personal commitment to succeed where governments often fail”.
Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK, added: "The last decade has seen huge progress in the social sector in the UK. Social enterprises and co-operatives are outperforming just-for-profit businesses; alternative banks have better returns on assets, lower volatility and higher growth, and a growing proportion of start-ups are socially-driven. A shift in the plates of the UK economy is happening.
“There is an urgent need for a business voice that presses for further advances on issues like low-carbon economy infrastructure, support for community enterprise, and support for community finance organisations to tackle the rise of payday lenders.
“We will press for things like extended use of social enterprise and co-operative models to combat the rise of fuel and transport poverty, and support for business-methods that reverse the current trend of concentrating greater and greater portions of wealth in a few hands. We need a voice for the social economy.”