We don’t have to wait for Whitehall to make change happen locally


The notion of local Government not waiting for Whitehall has gained a new relevance since the outcome of the General Election. With the recent announcement that 100% business rate retention will be scrapped, and the focus of Parliament over the next few months on terse Brexit negotiations, local government will be in the driving seat to shape the solutions to the issues we face.

The Co-op Party Local Government conference today will look at the deepening crisis’ in housing and education as well as looking at the new solutions coming forward in terms of health, community co-operation and generating community wealth.

The Rt Hon John Healey MP starts the conference with an important speech on housing. With the heart-breaking events in Kensington and Chelsea in our thoughts, we will look at the housing crisis in this country and what we can do to empower communities. We are really pleased to welcome Phoenix Community Housing from South-East London to give a tenant’s perspective, alongside Cllr Ben Curran from Sheffield City Council and Nic Bliss from the Confederation of Co-operative Housing.

Councillors will also join us to share their thoughts on education, how we can work collaboratively with schools and families; new ideas on community ownership and health, as well as hearing from key figures such as Cllr Sharon Taylor, Jim McMahon MP and Birmingham’s most recently elected Labour & Co-operative MP Preet Gill.

Finally our, conference will see the launch our pamphlet on Community Wealth Building , where we set out the six steps to rewriting the rules of the local economy using the powers and influence that local government has.  We set out how using co-operative values of self-help, participation, social responsibility and democratic accountability in a practical way can bring about a different approach to economic regeneration.

Co-operative Councillors now make up 13% of Councillors in England, a growing voice in our centenary year for co-operative answers at a local level. From local Labour & Co-operative Councillors empowering people in their ward, to whole council approaches to shaping the local economy or health care system, the Co-operative Party is proving that we don’t have to wait for Whitehall to bring about change locally.