Build your own Co-operative Manifesto – Co-operative Party

Build your own
Co‑operative Manifesto

Want to put co-operative principles and policies at the heart of your local manifesto, but unsure where to start? Use this “Build your own Co-operative Manifesto” tool to help you select co-operative ideas for your manifesto that will tackle the issues your community is facing.

Simply click the building block of the idea you'd like to add to your manifesto, and at the end of the page you can check your list and email yourself the final version.

We've even broken down the ideas into steps, from Step 1 ideas which are perfect for opposition groups or councils newer to co-operative organising, through to Step 3 ideas for councils and councillors further along on their co-operative journey.

Ready? Scroll down to begin!

Achieving Food Justice

The cost-of-living crisis has forced many people into choosing between heating and eating. Food poverty has a terrible impact on families and in particular children, harming their development and future life chances. It is completely wrong that in one of the world’s wealthiest countries we still have hunger and food poverty in our communities. Urgent action is needed to assist those struggling to be able to put food on their families’ tables and councillors can take a lead in achieving this.

Seek a scrutiny review into access to food in your area

Ensure your residents are receiving all the benefits they are entitled to by adopting a 'cash first' strategy.

Find out more about 'cash first' here.

Work to increase the take up of Healthy Start vouchers by raising the awareness of them amongst eligible groups.

Need inspiration? Look at Liverpool City Council’s Benefits Maximisation Team.

Appoint a Food Champion

Check if your area has one using our Food Justice Finder website.

Produce a food plan and build up food partnerships

Find out more about food plans and food partnerships.

Establish Food Hubs, explore Community Fridges, and open a community shop.

Find out more about community responses here.

Unlocking your High Streets

Our high streets are the beating hearts of our communities. They are where we shop, eat and socialise with friends and loved ones. They serve as civic centres which bring us closer together and help create the backdrop for thriving communities.

Unfortunately, in recent years we have seen increased shop closures and boarded up windows in our town centres – harming community cohesion and local pride in place. Action is required to restore our high streets as the epicentres of our communities. Local Councils can perform a leading role in enabling communities to come together to reshape their town centres for the future.

Create a register of Assets of Community Value

See our guide to listing an Asset here, and take inspiration from examples like the campaign to register Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon.

Pass our Unlock The High Street motion.

Download a copy of the motion here

Facilitate community purchase of Assets of Community Value through share offers

Examples include Plymouth Nudge Community Builders and Dumfries Midsteeple Quarter

Establish Community Improvement Districts (CIDs) to help economic development

Examples include Possilpark CID, Glasgow .

Towards ethical tax and procurement

Our public services are deprived of billions of pounds in tax revenue through tax avoidance by major corporations every year. This is money which could be used to improve schools, hospitals, and transport services in every part of the UK. Concerted action to end the prevalence of dirty money and tax avoidance is long overdue and local councils can lead the way.

Ending the evil of modern slavery must be a priority for our society. Local Councils can play an important role in this by ensuring their supply chains are free from modern slavery and exploitation. We believe action to promote ethical business practices and procurement can help to end the damage caused by both tax avoidance and modern slavery.

Sign up to be a Fair Tax Council – establishing fair tax compliance in procurement and supply chain

37 Councils are now signed up for the Fair Tax Declaration – including Newcastle City Council, Birmingham City Council & Edinburgh City Council.

Pass the Modern Slavery Charter – committing to eradicating modern slavery from procurement and the Council’s supply chain

Over 100 councils have signed up to the Co-op Party’s Modern Slavery Charter

Develop a progressive procurement strategy

Examples of progressive procurement strategies include Islington Council and Sheffield Council.

Transitioning to Community Energy

To achieve our net zero targets, we will need radical change to our energy system, decarbonising our homes and local economies. But we should not accept the creation of a new privately owned energy system dominated by a few large producers and suppliers.

A future energy system built on community energy can put communities in charge of their energy production, supply and usage. Community energy retrofitting of homes will be a crucial way of reducing energy bills through greater energy efficiency.

Delivering widespread retrofitting for our homes will enable the UK to reduce its overall energy wastage – at a time when we need to strengthen our energy security and become less reliant on fossil fuels. Community energy is the best way of achieving this while empowering people right across the country.

Support our #CantWaitToInsulate campaign – which seeks to retrofit 19 million homes by 2030

Find out more about the #CantWaitToInsulate campaign here.

Audit the council housing stock and set out a plan for net zero

Plan a retrofitting programme with local community energy co-operatives

Get inspired by the work of Salford City Council and Carbon Co-op

Create a Community Energy Fund

Allocate council land to community energy projects

Examples include Community energy development on Chelson Meadow, owned by Plymouth Council.

Unleashing Credit unions

In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, accessible financial services are essential to help people make ends meet and provide for their families. Credit unions – member-owned financial co-operatives can be the vital financial lifeline which helps people to support their families, improve their homes and invest in their children’s education.

As member-owned co-operatives, credit unions are always run in the interests of their members, providing accessible services such as loans and savings accounts. Creating and growing local credit unions can be a crucial way of protecting our communities.

Create a payroll deduction for Council staff to a local credit union.

This could even be made a requirement for private companies tendering for council contracts. Examples include Enfield councils work with London Capital Credit Union.

Host credit unions in council buildings or alongside council services

For example, Cardiff Council provide office space to Cardiff & Vale Credit Union.

Establish a credit union or provide patient shares

Examples include Sunderland city-wide credit union (Sunderland Council partnership with MoneyWise Credit Union)

Creating a co-operative economy

Developing more co-operative local economies will be key to achieving fairer, more prosperous and productive economies. The status quo has failed to deliver for communities across the UK, leading to widening inequality and low growth. The Covid-19 pandemic amplified the growing inequalities and doing more of the same will fail to end the inequality which has slowed growth, frozen living standards and condemned many communities to poverty.

Co-operative models provide the opportunity to put people in charge of their local economies, businesses and services. Local Councils can play a pivotal role in enabling this economic development, through Community Wealth Building and progressive procurement which retains wealth in local economies.

Map local co-ops and mutuals and engage with them to find out what they need for growth

Find a list here.

Develop and implement a Community Wealth Building strategy

For example, look at Preston City Council’s Community Wealth Building 2.0 Strategy.

Establish or support a local co-operative development agency

Examples include Sheffield City Region’s Ownership Hub, Co-operate Islington and Greenwich Co-op Development Agency.

Remaking the housing sector

We are in the midst of a housing crisis which has seen property prices and rental costs soar in recent decades, leaving many locked out of decent, secure housing. Approximately a quarter of people are now in the private rental sector, which has exposed many people to insecure tenancies, punitive fees and increasing rents.

Collective action by renters will be needed to improve rights and give renters greater voice in the future. Co-operative housing models can provide solutions to the housing crisis - delivering affordable, secure housing. Co-op housing can provide options for all types of incomes – providing people with membership and a voice in where they live.

Establish a local private renters’ forum or private tenants’ association

Use our Standing up for Private Renters guide to help.

Reform local landlord licensing to promote good practice and penalise bad landlords

Deliver new co-operative housing models for all income levels. Enable community-led housing provision within social housing by enabling tenants to manage their own estates.

Examples include Merthyr Valley Homes.

Building Community Power

Empowering our communities is at the heart of co-operative politics. Building the power of communities to shape their local area and economy should be at the heart of any regional growth agenda. The Covid-19 pandemic saw people of all backgrounds and faiths come together to deliver vital services to everyone who needed them, with people joining mutual aid groups, donating to food banks and engaging in community projects.

With a new wave of austerity forthcoming, building community power and enabling communities to transform their local areas will be essential to avoiding further economic damage from renewed austerity.

Volunteer with local community groups, charities and foodbanks.

Sign up to the Diverse Councils Declaration – calling on democratic representation to reflect the vibrancy of local communities.

Call for greater devolution of powers and funding to a local level – including the Levelling Up Fund, the Towns Fund and the Shared Prosperity Fund. Set up local funds for Councillors or communities.

Examples include the Community Grants Programme by Stevenage Council.

Develop long-term strategic support for communities

Examples include Greenwich Council and the work of the Greenwich Co-op Development Agency.

Your manifesto ideas

The ideas you have selected are listed below. Once you're happy with your list, press the button below to email the final list to yourself.