Labour & Co-operative Mayor Andy Burnham has called on Greater Manchester to be ‘the most co-operative place in the UK’, announcing on Friday the launch of a Co-operative Commission to be delivered in partnership with the Co-operative Party.

The Commission will work with the region’s co-operative sector and a wider group of stakeholders to consider how Greater Manchester can support existing co-operatives in the region, create conditions that enable them to grow, and identify opportunities for the expansion of co-operative enterprise into new sectors of the region’s economy.

Chaired by the Labour & Co-operative leader of Rochdale Council, Allen Brett, research will be carried out into how co-operatives are contributing towards four goals set in the  wider Greater Manchester Strategy, called Our People, Our Place, which was launched last October. The Commission will help Greater Manchester identify ways to:

  • create sustainable and high quality jobs for local people
  • improve educational attainment
  • provide solutions to the challenges faced in the delivery of key services
  • reduce inequality

As agreed by the Combined Authority, the Commission will:

  • Establish a small panel to guide the work
  • Gather evidence from across GM on the role cooperatives play in
    achieving the ambitions of the GM strategy.
  • Hold a small number of evidence sessions, providing an opportunity to
    call experts in the GM region and cooperative sector.
  • Publish a report setting out findings and recommendations.

Responding to the launch, Co-operative Party General Secretary Claire McCarthy said:

“As well as being a better way of doing business, co-operatives are a catalyst for transforming communities and the wider economy. That’s why I am delighted that the Labour & Co-operative Mayor Andy Burnham and the region’s council leaders have announced the launch a Co-operative Commission for Greater Manchester.

As the Commission gets underway, we are looking forward to working with the Mayor, Cllr Allen Brett and the many organisations which make up the region’s vibrant co-operative sector in its delivery.

This is an important piece of work which we hope will lay the groundwork for a fairer, stronger Greater Manchester, with co-operative values and approaches put at the heart of the region’s economy.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham added:

“As a co-operative mayor, I recognise how important this is to Greater Manchester and I am looking forward to working with Allen to establish a clear pathway of how we can continue to put Greater Manchester at the forefront of co-operative development.

“Greater Manchester should be the most co-operative region in the UK and the most natural place for new co-ops and social enterprises to start and thrive. This is a very strong commitment to ensure we do that to ultimately benefit the lives of people and businesses across the city-region.”