In preparation for its 2015 general election manifesto, Labour’s national policy forum has been focussing on co-operative solutions in housing, rail and education.
Labour leader Ed Miliband said during his speech at the forum that the party’s programme sought to empower communities, create jobs and place public interest above the interest of the few. He highlighted that this would involve “moving on from New Labour, but not going back to Old Labour”, without big spending as the answer the long-term economic crisis.
During a questions and answer session, Mr Miliband expressed interest in the co-operative housing model housing as a fair and accountable alternative to private rental.
The forum agreed to explore the co-operative and mutual models of rail ownership as well as increase accountability to passengers and staff.
Other accepted proposals from representatives of the Co-operative Party included ones on credit unions and a commitment from the Labour Party to promote co-operation between schools and learning from co-op clusters.
Childcare co-operatives and social enterprises were also praised for their contribution. Labour committed to the formation of an armed forces credit union as well as to broadening co-operative and community ownership models within the energy sector.
Co-operative Party NEC member Sarah Gill said in her blog post on the Forum: “It is clear to me that our proposals will form an important part of Labour’s offer as we move towards May 2015.
“Tough questions have been asked, all sides have been realistic in our expectations and aims, and in the end we have worked together and co-operated to find solutions.”