Anna Birley Policy Officer 27th September 2021 Blog Economy Local Government Share Tweet The last few months have shown us that we respond to crisis with kindness. Despite the pain and disruption that Covid-19 has caused, communities across the UK have responded not with conflict, but with co-operation. For every panic-bought toilet roll, there is a story of an elderly neighbour befriended, a donation to the local foodbank, a mutual aid volunteer delivering a prescription. Co-operative approaches are characterised by the communities that come together to shape them, and when we talk about safe and secure communities, it is the genuine partnership working based on trust and shared values that strengthens, empowers, and protects people. So it was great that the Co-operative Party was able to co-host yesterday’s fringe event as part of Anneliese Dodds’ policy review, Stronger Together. There are some brilliant examples of Labour & Co-operative activists, Councillors, Police and Crime Commissioners, Mayors, MSPs and Members of the Senedd putting co-operative values into practice around the country that are showcased in Anneliese’s Labour Works report, many of which were discussed at the event too. From protecting shopworkers to breathing new life into high streets and community spaces, co-operative approaches offer us a hopeful blueprint for what a Labour & Co-operative Government in Westminster could deliver. For example, the shift to community ownership is helping to revitalise high streets in places like Dumfries and Plymouth. Rather than tinkering around the edges, communities like theirs are exploring more radical approaches, putting the community not corporations and absent landlords in the driving seat to change their town centres for the better. In Dumfries, the local community has been raising funds through community share offers to buy back empty shops on their high street, reopening them as places that the community values. In Plymouth, the Clipper was bought by a local community group, the Nudge Community Builders, and transformed from a derelict pub to a community café and market space for local small businesses. And, thriving town centres need to be a place people feel safe to shop, work and meet their friends too. Community safety and local economic success go hand in hand. From partnerships in South Wales to make the night time economy safer, to strong partnerships with employers in Merseyside to tackle women’s safety, the collaborative approach of co-operative Police and Crime Commissioners across the UK demonstrate the value of working together to deliver bottom-up solutions. At the Co-operative Party, we’ve also been working in partnership with Usdaw and co-operative businesses around the country to tackle the problem of violence against shopworkers. Paddy Lillis, the General Secretary of Usdaw, joined the fringe to talk about the war that Labour & Co-operative MSP Daniel Johnson has led to tackle violence against retail workers in Scotland – changing the law from the back benches in though Scottish parliament and setting a great example for Westminster lawmakers. These are just a few examples – but they show that Labour works, that co-operation is bringing together stronger, more secure communities, and that putting our Labour and co-operative values into practice delivers genuine, tangible improvements to people’s lives. Anneliese’s Britain in 2030 report shows just how transformative that could be if applied on a national level, the difference that we can make when we join up the work being done in local, regional, Welsh and Scottish government with a Labour government in Westminster.