The Welsh Government’s Commission – set up to help create more jobs and wealth in the sector – is calling for evidence from interested organisations and individuals throughout Wales and further afield.
Most students of co-operatives know that Robert Owen, the father of co-operation, was a Welshman. Many others have heard of the inspiring story of Tower Collier, a worker-owned colliery in the South Wales Valleys. Now the Welsh Government has established a Co-operative Commission to help encourage the growth of the co-operative economy in Wales as a response to the crisis of capitalism and the accelerating cost of and demand for public services.
In Wales, co-operatives generate more than £1billion in income a year and employ an estimated 7,000 people ( 2010 figures). The independent commission set up by Business Minister Edwina Hart is developing a vision and framework to support the growth of the sector and improve services in Wales.
Chairman Professor Andrew Davies has urged all interested parties to get involved. He said:
“The Commission wants to hear views from people in Wales and wider afield – from producers, consumers, householders, those in and out of work, local communities, those running businesses in Wales, those with experience of the co-operative and mutuals sector as well as individuals, communities or groups who would like to start their own enterprise.
“We want people to respond to this call for evidence and engage in debate via social media platforms such as Linked In and twitter as well as submitting their views and suggestions by email, on our website or by post.
“We will be examining a wide range of issues and looking at the opportunities for developing and growing co-operatives and mutuals in Wales. We will be discussing the role they should take in the delivery of public services in Wales; the scope for expanding their operations and how the Welsh Government can support the formation and growth of co-operatives and mutuals in Wales.
“The response from this call for evidence will help inform the Commission’s findings which is why it is so important that interested parties participate and share their views.”
Please help by sending a summary of successful examples from your experience and from your country.
Particular useful would be evidence of:
- Legal structures that support co-operative and mutual development;
- Examples of fiscal frameworks of support such as tax advantages in return for economic democracy within enterprises;
- Examples of co-operatives that have been able to innovate as a result of their governance type;
- An account of how the state—whether national or local—has been able to support the development of co-operatives effectively;
- Information about co-operative education, particularly within mainstream education systems.
How to give evidence:
Views and suggestions can be submitted in one of the following ways:
E-mail: Co-opandMutualsCommission@wales.gsi.gov.uk on the Commission website (link on right hand side). Please send a short summary of what works as an email attachment.
Post: Welsh Co-operative and Mutuals Commission, c/o Welsh Government, QED Centre, Main Avenue, Trefforest Estate, Pontypridd, CF37 5YR.
Twitter @Coopmutualwales (External link)—use to link us to your research findings published elsewhere.
Linkedin – The Welsh Co operative and Mutuals Commission Linkedin group (External link) allows members to share knowledge, provide feedback and discuss the issues being discussed by the Commission.
The deadline for responses is 19 April 2013 and the Commission anticipates providing a draft report to the Minister in the autumn.
Find out more about the Commission on the Welsh Assembly Government website.