Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has today (27 January 2020) welcomed a report compiled by a panel of co-operative experts to grow the co-operative economy across the city-region.
The report sets out how Greater Manchester Combined Authority can take a lead in supporting the development of the co-operative sector. It includes recommendations around advice and support for existing, new start and converting co-ops, as well as for encouraging co-operation at a community level, and in specific areas such as housing, transport and digital sectors.
A key recommendation is that Greater Manchester is designated as a Co-operative Zone with a dedicated resource to offer business advice and support for both existing co-operatives and those who wish to start or convert to a co-operative approach. Other recommendations include:
- Pioneer community-led economic development in Greater Manchester
- Support the creation of a Greater Manchester service co-op for freelancers and micro-enterprises
- Set up a Greater Manchester Community Housing Hub to address a gap in the housing market and enable the establishment of co-operative and community-led housing projects
- Pilot partnerships with community-led 'total transport' solutions
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham said: “The building blocks of cooperation in Greater Manchester are already strong and more than 160,000 people in the city-region are already members of a co-operative, with co-operatives contributing £73 million to the city-region’s economy.
“The commission has been crucial in drawing on the work that needs to be done to continue and further the success of co-operatives in Greater Manchester. I would like to thank them for all of their efforts in preparing this important report, and hope these recommendations can steer the co-operative community to bring even more benefits to our economy.”
The report was compiled by the Manchester Co-operative Commission, which represents the region’s leading co-ops, local authorities and co-op development organisations including Co-operatives UK.
Our Policy Officer James Wright sat on the commission: “An important part of our role on the commission was ensuring that the views and experiences of our hundreds of co-operative member businesses were included. We gathered information from them on the challenges and opportunities facing co-ops today. We are now eager to help the Greater Manchester Combined Authority turn the recommendations into action."
Greater Manchester is the home of the global co-operative movement, which this year marks 175 years since the Rochdale Pioneers founded the first commercially successfully co-operative, and now is the time to take action.