Co-operatives UK, working with MPs on a cross-party basis, has helped secure a Parliamentary debate on the contribution of co-operatives to the economy on 14 December 2021.
The rising prominence of co-operatives in sectors including energy, housing, digital-creative and the gig economy is gaining attention, at a time when significant economic, social and environmental challenges are driving interest in fairer, more sustainable alternatives to ‘business as usual’.
Co-operative businesses – where members democratically own, run and share in the profit of a business – are delivering solutions for communities across the UK. Evidence shows that they offer greater resilience as a business model, which has been vitally important during the economic and social shocks of Covid‑19. In 2020 co-operatives were four times less likely to close than other types of business (The Co‑op Economy Report 2021).
I have always been a long-standing advocate for co‑operatives. They are a great example of how opportunity, wealth and liberty can be expanded without state control.
– Steve Baker, Conservative MP for Wycombe
Steve Baker MP, a longtime champion of co‑operatives in the Conservative Party, has spearheaded the application for a debate and solicited support from Conservative backbench MPs including Sir Graham Brady, Jerome Mayhew, Simon Baynes and Mark Garnier.
Other MPs who have backed the application are the Labour Party’s John McDonnell and Dan Jarvis, the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas, Ben Lake from Plaid Cymru and Marion Fellows from the SNP. Two Co-operative Party MPs, Sir Mark Hendrick and Barry Sheerman, also signed up in support of having the debate, making this a true cross party effort.
Steve Baker, MP for Wycombe, said: “I have always been a long‑standing advocate for co‑operatives. They are a great example of how opportunity, wealth and liberty can be expanded without state control.
“This debate will highlight the positive contributions co‑operatives make to our economy and society, as well as raise the profile of some of the innovations and models that could really be applied to positive effect, not just in my constituency….