Labour and Co-operative Mayor Andy Burnham has launched the new Greater Manchester Co-operative Commission. It aims to work with the region’s thriving sector to find effective co-operative solutions to some of the area’s most pressing issues.

The Commission will be seeking to build on and work with the existing co-operative sector, including the 160,000 people across the region who are already members of a co-op, providing a turnover of over £73million to Greater Manchester’s local economy. This includes the home of the Co-operative Group, the world’s biggest consumer owned business with millions of members.

The Commission is made up of stakeholders from across the co-operative movement, including representatives from credit unions, co-operative businesses and social enterprises.

It will focus on several main areas of opportunity – community-led housing, the growing digital sector, transport, social care and co-operative business development – looking at the ways in which co-operative values and models can transform these sectors.

For example, the co-operative movement could offer solutions to many of Greater Manchester’s housing issues. Across the region, 5,564 people are homeless, either living on the streets or in temporary accommodation. Along with the rest of the UK, growing numbers of people are turning to private renting, often faced with spiralling rents, rogue landlords and poor-quality accommodation. Co-operative housing puts people back at the heart of their homes, offering tenants the opportunity to have a real stake in the ownership of their homes and the decisions that affect them.

The Co-operative Party was proud to nominate Jo Platt, Labour and Co-operative MP for Leigh, as our representative on the Commission. Looking forward, we hope that the ideas and experiences of our Co-op Party members will help shape the Commission’s work. Over the coming months there will be a call for evidence to get ideas from the bottom up and explore opportunities to respond to the most pressing issues in Greater Manchester and suggest new solutions where the market has failed.

Greater Manchester has a proud tradition of co-operation and an already thriving co-operative sector. The launching of the Co-operative Commission is another important step towards building a better, stronger and more co-operative society.

The Commissioners

Chair : Cllr Allen Brett (Leader of Rochdale Council)

Vice Chair : Cllr Angeliki Stogia (Manchester Council)

Paul Gerrard (Co-op Group)

James Wright (Co-operatives UK)

Kelly Bubble (Unicorn)

Jo Platt MP (Co-op Party)

David Batten (Credit Unions for Greater Manchester)

Simon Parkinson (Co-op College)

Mike Blackburn (Chair of Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership)

Sean Fensom (Tameside Digital Infrastructure Co-operative)

Cliff Mills (Anthony Collins)