City deals must drive power beyond city halls to be successful
The Government’s push to devolve power to city and county regions will only be successful if it drives power beyond town halls and into local communities, argues the Co-operative Party in a report published today.
The report, entitled ‘By Us, For Us: a co-operative agenda for enhanced city and county regions’ argues that newly-created ‘metro mayors’ and combined city authorities must use their new powers to further devolve decision-making and ownership to the local level. Bringing mutual and devolution agendas together for the first time, the report proposes co-operative approaches to policy areas including energy, transport, social care and banking as a means of giving local people real power over services and the economy in their area.
The findings will be discussed at a national conference of the Co-operative Party’s councillors (who stand jointly as Labour & Co-operative) in Manchester today. They will be addressed by Labour’s Manchester Metro Mayor candidate Andy Burnham MP, Shadow Local Government Minister Jim McMahon MP, as well as representatives of local councils that have already adopted co-operative models – examples which provide the inspiration for many of the Report’s recommendations.
The report calls for:
- Communities to play a leading role in driving local economic priorities, including through the development of employee and customer-owned co-operative businesses.
- Greater passenger involvement in the procurement and delivery of local bus services, including expanding the role of not-for-profit and community-run bus operators.
- The expansion of community energy co-operatives to reduce fuel bills and provide a challenge to the UK’s monopolised energy market.
- The involvement of care workers, care recipients and the wider community in commissioning local care providers.
Speaking in advance of the launch, Co-operative Party General Secretary Claire McCarthy said:
“Co-operative councillors have been at the forefront of innovation in local government in recent years. They have shown how relevant co-operative approaches are to meeting the challenges facing families and communities in their area. Cities and regions now have the chance to build strong local economies and communities, and driving power down to people is the way to achieve that.”
Shadow Minister for Communities and Local Government Jim McMahon MP said:
“When power is passed simply from Whitehall to the Town Hall without a real community stake in this new settlement, we miss an opportunity. This important report from the Co-operative Party helps us to understand how devolution can be used to level the playing field of our democracy, giving people a voice, a stake and a say in the way their society is organised.”
Notes for editors
For more information contact Ben West on 07915978681 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- The full report can be downloaded (PDF) from the Co-operative Party website:
- The Co-operative Party Local Government Conference will take place at the People’s History Museum, Manchester on Saturday 12th Keynote speakers include Andy Burnham MP, Jim McMahon MP, and Co-operative Party General Secretary Claire McCarthy
- The Co-operative Party is the political arm of the co-operative movement and has been in an electoral agreement with the Labour Party since 1927. There are more than 500 Labour & Co-operative local councillors, 27 Labour & Co-operative MPs in Westminster, as well as elected representatives in Holyrood, Cardiff and the London Assembly. (http://party.coop )