Thursday, October 01, 2009

Wednesday PM – Co-op, Education (Free School Meals), Royal Mail Pension

Gareth Thomas MP, chair of Co-op Party addressed conference. The Co-op movement is on a bit of a roll at the moment. It’s not just about the failure of the demutualised banks and building societies but new interest in co-operative provision of public services – housing, hospitals and even schools.

The Education debate saw a barn standing speech in favour of free school meals by Newham Councillor Unmesh Desai (see picture). Newham is part of a government pilot to offer free school meals to all primary schools. A commitment to roll this programme out nationally in the Labour manifesto next year is IMO a "no-brainer".

Next we had some alternative show business glamour with awards given out by the Labour Party supporter Eddie Izzard.

Billy Hayes the CWU General Secretary successfully moved the emergency motion on the Royal Mail pension deficit. This deficit is mostly due to contribution holidays by the state owned Post Office during most of the period of Tory rule and the Party will now be pressing the government to take responsibility for it.


Tony said...

The number of "bona fide" fully mutual housing co-ops in the public sector - where the tenants really are constituted as their own landlord - hasn't significantly changed since 1989.

For all intents and purposes the development of common-ownership housing co-ops was outlawed. A process of rapid growth instigated by a Labour Government in the 70's was effectively destroyed by the Tories. We were proving successful where the expectation had been that of failure, so the experiment was brought to an end.

In 1992 the Labour Party were pledged to remedying the situation - rebuilding infrastructure, ring-fencing grant et al. 20 years later and I'm now of the opinion that New Labour reneged on that promise. An opportunity squandered, amongst many, that the Party will live to regret.

John Gray said...

Hi Tony

I'm not sure I agree about the recent history but I think that larger community freehold housing co-ops could be about to have a brighter future.