At the recent Co-operative Party Annual Conference delegates considered and agreed the following;

The standard annual membership fee be £20 in 2012 and £25 in 2013. Under this proposal the £5 first-year membership rate for Youth members will be retained, as this has been a very successful tool for bringing much-needed new members into the Party.

The National Executive Committee will seek to implement a national membership system as soon as possible, which will include options for a concessionary membership rate and will bring forward a fundamental review of Party funding to Annual Conference in 2012. This will form the basis of consideration of the membership fee rate for 2014 on onwards.

The reason why this change has been agreed is that the Party’s membership income is less than 10 per cent of our income and we are heavily reliant on a small number of co-operative organisations to provide the bulk of our funding. Our membership income must rise if we are to build a secure and sustainable financial base for the Party.

The NEC is conscious of the impact of a rise in fees and will look at how a concession system could be introduced and will come back to Annual Conference next year with a proposal.

Members should also know that the change in fees from 2012 will mean more funds for local parties. Currently, local parties receive £2 for every member (at the £15 yearly rate). In 2012 local parties will receive £3 (out of £20). That is a 50% increase for parties per member.

Party staff will provide more information to local party units over the coming months about the change in fees and the development a new national membership system.