Category Archives: Co-operative Party – Latest

Protect Jobs in East Kilbride – Protect International Development – Joe Fagan

It is impossible to interpret the demise of DFID as anything other than a downgrading in international development as a priority of the Tory Government.

That development has been downgraded at all is a matter of deep concern and regret. That DFID is to disappear into the Foreign Office is misguided. That is has all been done in the name of a ‘Global Britain’ is outright farce. This degradation of the UK’s presence in the world and our capacity to be a force for good is wrong and entirely self-inflicted.

Shaped by Co-operative MPs and manifestos, DFID has come a long way since its creation under the last Labour government. Today DIFD is widely regarded as one of the best overseas development agencies in the world, delivering one of the biggest aid budgets in the world. A major player with global reach, DFID has helped over 11 and a half million children gain a decent education, immunised over 37 million children against diseases in the poorest countries and reached more than 26 million people worldwide with humanitarian aid in the past three years alone. Much of that work is co-ordinated, not from Whitehall, but from the former Oversees Development Agency offices in East Kilbride, where today almost half of the UK-based DFID workforce is located.

They are part of our community in East Kilbride. They supported our bid to become Scotland’s largest Fairtrade Town and they contribute millions to our local economy. Decisions taken about the future of their workforce could have serious consequences for our town. That is why the lack of any meaningful consultation with the workforce on this merger is so disconcerting. Workers are in the dark about what a merger with the Foreign Office, potentially as soon as September, will mean for them in practice. The wider community is in the dark about what this will mean for our economy, already struggling with the impact of Covid and the erosion of the manufacturing base and service sectors on which so much of the New Town was built.

If the government will not commit to retaining DFID as a world-leading aid agency, they should at least commit to retaining the jobs of the civil servants in East Kilbride, London and around the world who made it such an international success.

The creation of DFID is one of the great achievements of the last Labour and Co-operative led government. So too is its endurance. The department survived numerous Tory reshuffle and came to symbolise how the political centre ground on aid spending had shifted. Boris Johnson and this generation of Tories want to shift it back. We cannot let them roll back action to tackle global inequality and the deprioritise the life-changing work of DFID around the world.

Community and co-operative responses urgently need to be unleashed now ahead of any second wave – Joe Fortune

The Westminster Government doesn’t have the answers or wherewithal to prepare us for a possible second wave. Outside of somehow escaping a recurrence or having a vaccine, our hopes lie with ourselves and our ability for co-operation.

Despite the pain and disruption Coronavirus has caused, communities across the UK responded to this crisis not with division, but with co-operation. We befriended neighbours, joined mutual aid groups, donated to foodbanks and more. We came together in solidarity.

Co-operatives, as businesses rooted in their communities, contributed heavily to that effort. They were at the forefront of a national effort to feed the country during the current crisis. They were the first to announce that no child should go hungry because schools were closed. They were the first to back food banks struggling because of panic buying.

Two thirds of people want to keep the renewed sense of community found during the crisis. So as we emerge from this first wave of the virus, we must ask ourselves how we will maintain this co-operation and community spirit, and indeed what it says about the kind of nation we want to be post-lockdown.

The Government now has growing charge sheet in terms of its own decision-making abilities and it is clear that the British people don’t trust this Prime Minister’s judgement in relation to Covid-19. We don’t have faith that the Government has all the answers – and in absence of other solutions, communities must be immediately incentivised, organised and guided to work together like at no other time in our history. This isn’t just about dealing with the aftermath of lockdown, but preparing ourselves for a potential second wave – which the Government is patently failing to do.

Of course, it won’t be easy or straight forward – but it is necessary. A powerful recent piece co-authored by Kirsty McNeil of Save the Children powerfully put across the need for a volunteer army to catch-up children’s educations post-lockdown. It also pointed to the view of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration that the three-quarters of a million people who signed up as NHS Responders risk being turned off volunteering altogether as a result of the handling and lack of success of the scheme.

However, there are fantastic examples of more organic and co-operative spirited activity right across the country. From fantastic new platforms like the Co-op Group’s Co-operate website to 3DCrowd, which has 8000 volunteers knocking out over 150,000 facemasks. So many communities already stepped up where the Government failed: when the lack of PPE endangered lives and rendered Government decisions redundant or counter-productive, the Harrogate Scrubbers stepped in to raise money for and make large quantities of PPE for their local hospital. These are among so many more examples to be chosen from.

So whether it be a volunteer army helping with education or a large-scale community push towards generating the vital protective kit like masks and PPE, we know our communities are ready to serve. We know the solution lies in co-operation.  What the Government could help with is the guiding, the incentivising and the opening of doors and minds to make it happen – then we might be better prepared for any second wave that may


Four out of five Scots agree: no bailouts for tax avoiders – Rhoda Grant MSP

Along with a number of Co-operative Party colleagues I have been trying to get the Scottish Government to take the tax behaviour of companies seriously in the procurement process. The standard response from the Scottish Government has usually been we would think about it if we had the powers. In the debate about the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No2) Bill the answer as to whether the Scottish Government has the powers or not was finally given. They do have the powers – they chose to use them timidly.

As I have previously said I would be very happy to work with the Scottish Government to find a way to bring effective tax transparency into the public procurement system. No public funds should be paid to companies which are tax avoiders.

In the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis there will be economic problems; the Scottish Government and local government in Scotland should not be giving money to companies which are not paying their way.

Fair Tax Mark has released polling this week which shows that 80% of Scots – four out of five Scots – think that all businesses benefiting from a government bailout should have to agree conditions which prohibit tax avoidance.

The First Minister has said that she wants companies to ‘play fair in terms of paying taxes.’ This is an admirable wish, but the First Minister has the power to make this a reality if she wants to.

I know that Scottish Co-operative Party MSPs are willing to work with the First Minister to help deliver a public procurement regime which says no payouts to tax avoiders. We were disappointed that the SNP and the Tories joined together to prevent a further amendment which would have strengthened the policy by ensuring that companies could only get government funding if they reported on their tax affairs country by country to prevent the offshoring of profits.

As a Scottish Co-operative Party MSP I welcome the publication this week as part of the party’s Owning the Future campaign of A Plan for Fair Tax.  This document sets out a simple six point plan for Fair Tax companies should publish a fair tax policy.  They should report on taxes paid country-by-country this was rejected by Tory and SNP MSPs in the Scottish Parliament.  There should be transparency on the ownership and control of companies, anonymously owned companies are charter for money launderers and tax avoiders to do what they want. We should support our high streets, before Covid-19 our high streets were impacted by online competition and the costs of rent and rates – we need to look for ways to level the playing field to stop the decimation of our high streets and the impact that will have on our communities.  We need to incentivise economic growth in diverse sectors, not least by promoting co-operatives.

It is clear that many companies will be looking for support from public funds as we move past this pandemic towards economic recovery. The Scottish Government and local government in Scotland should only provide support to companies that pay the appropriate rate of tax in the appropriate jurisdiction at the appropriate time. Giving money to tax avoiders effectively robs our communities of the resources they will need to rebuild our economy after the coronavirus crisis.

There should be no bailouts for tax avoiders.

Post-lockdown, community pubs and venues will be needed more than ever – but many are facing closure. – Cllr Nick Small

Post-lockdown, community pubs and venues will be needed more than ever – but many are facing closure.

Pubs and music venues are social hubs of local communities.  The pressures facing community pubs and venues before lockdown were huge, with many sadly closing.  As we move out of lockdown and into a new, socially distanced normal – with all that it means for mental health and wellbeing, social isolation, loneliness and reinventing public space – community pubs and venues will be needed more than ever, but will no doubt will face even bigger new challenges.

In Liverpool, Co-op Party councillors have used the Assets of Community Value (ACV) register to protect and boost community pubs and venues.  Under the Localism Act 2011, councils have to maintain a register of community assets.  There’s a six month cooling off period before assets listed as ACV can be sold, during which time community organisations, including co-ops, have the right to bid.

The first pub we got listed was the Caledonia, or the Cali, which has been a feature of Liverpool’s Georgian Quarter since 1838.  It’s a vegan pub with craft beer doing live music.  In 2013 the then owners tried to sell it so the building could become student accommodation.  We worked with the community and Liverpool Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and got the pub listed as an ACV.  The licensee, Laura King, was able to get a new lease and the Cali has been thriving ever since.

The Roscoe Head is another historic pub we helped get listed as an ACV.  Dating back to 1870, no jukebox or fruit machine, the Roscoe Head is the only pub on Merseyside and one of only five UK pubs to have appeared in every edition of the CAMRA Good Beer Guide since it was first published in 1974.  The pub’s a tied pub.  The tie is an outdated semi-feudal model going back 400 years, forcing tied pubs to buy their beer exclusively from the companies that owns them.  There’s been a long-running, but not yet successful campaign to support landlady Carol Ross to cut the tie.  Increasingly, it’s not breweries owning tied pubs but a new generation of pubcos, more interested in short-term property development.  The pubco that owns the Roscoe Head wants to demolish it and redevelop the site with student accommodation.  The ACV listing has thwarted that for the last five years.

Parr Street Studios is another Liverpool venue under thread.  A Grammy-Award winning recording studio complex, the largest outside London, it’s also home to two bars with a vibrant live music scene, a boutique hotel and offices housing start-ups and social businesses.  Coldplay, Pulp, Echo and the Bunnymen, Doves, Cast and Paolo Nutini have all recorded there.  Originally owned by the pension fund of 70s prog-rock band Genesis, it was saved from the bulldozers in 2006.  A few weeks ago a planning application was submitted by property developers to demolish the studios and build a new hotel and residential scheme there.  There’s a grassroots community campaign underway led by social activist Sonia Bassey of the UK’s largest African live music festival Africa Oye, a tenant of Parr Street, local musicians and local councillors to get Parr Street Studios listed as an ACV to retain this important part of Liverpool music economy.

As a Co-op Party councillor, I’m a big supporter of the Love It? List It! campaign. In Liverpool, we’ve done it the hard way.  We’ve build grassroots campaigns to save pubs and venues one by one.  Love It? List It! and the backing of the Co-op Party brings new resources to support grassroots, community-minded campaigns like some of these.  We can all share successes and failures, good practice and bad with each other, connect with like-minded civil society organisations like CAMRA, working together to build a new economy based around community, co-operation and solidarity.

Councillor Nick Small is a Labour & Co-operative Councillor at Liverpool City Council.  He tweets @cllrnicksmall


The key to Owning the Future – Nick Matthews

Co-operatives are more resilient and sustainable than conventional business – and driven by their values they have risen to the challenge of this crisis and helped their communities. As we rebuild the economy after Covid-19, co-operatives offer us all a say and a stake in a fairer economy.

Covid-19 and how we have dealt with it has shone a spotlight on the huge divisions that scar our economy and society. One positive thing to come out of this time has been the spontaneous outpouring of co-operative community activity to support those in greatest need. The challenge for all of us is how do we maintain this spirit and ensure it is channelled into sustainable co-operative businesses?

Earlier this month, we in Co-operatives UK published our annual Co-op Economy Report. Despite many challenges for the sector it showed steady progress with turnover growing to £38.2 billion creating employment for 241,714 people. You can read our report here.

This is no mean feat. We are less than 1% of the economy so it is a testament to the sheer hard work and resilience of the businesses that generate this turnover and the support of their 14 million members that they not only survive but prosper. Often however this is no thanks to the wider business environment that pays little heed to the requirements of the co-operative business form.

Yet just as this pandemic has shown weaknesses in our society it has shown the strength of the co-operative business model. It has been heartening to see how co-ops driven by their underlying values have risen to the challenge of delivering goods and services to their members and customers at this time. Now we know that serving the communities in which we sit and being socially responsible is not just being good but good for business too. Our evidence also shows that once formed co-ops are more resilient and sustainable than conventional businesses.

So as we emerge from this lockdown surely what we all want to see are more socially responsible more resilient businesses? That’s why I am delighted to see from this report from the Co-operative Party, ‘Owning the Future’ that the wider public share our aspiration for a fairer more democratic economy.

We must not let down that amazing volunteer effort and give those mutual aid groups the tools and support they need to develop sustainable co-operative enterprises welcoming them into the co-operative family.

‘Owning the Future’ is a significant contribution to this process as it offers us a route map to that more socially responsible, sustainable, more co-operative economy that the British public say they want. We all deserve to live in a more resilient, more just, less unequal society. Where communities are served by businesses in which we all have a stake. It is only when we have that stake and we can have our say that we can we honestly begin to rebuild better!

We must harness the hard work and creativity of Scottish communities to end inequality and build a fair economy

Richard Leonard – Co-operative Party

Just as Scotland was unprepared for this public health crisis, so too are we unprepared for the upcoming crisis in our economy.

Just as our country was unprepared for this public health crisis, so too are we unprepared for the upcoming crisis in our economy. The underlying weaknesses in the Scottish economy have not been tackled.  The Scottish Government should have been taking action to diversify and strengthen the Scottish economy and to narrow inequality – but it has not done so. But it’s not too late for us to take bold, decisive action.

Merely tinkering with these problems will not do.  As the Co-operative Party’s new Owning The Future report suggests, we must harness the hard work, creativity, and dedication of people and their communities to end inequality and build a better economy.

Thanks to polling conducted for the Co-operative Party, we know that in Scotland 59% of people feel that they do not have a say in the economy. That disconnect speaks volumes. But Scots also know the answer: 65% of us feel the economy would be fairer post-coronavirus with more co-operatives at its heart.

Scotland should seek to be the Mondragon of the north.  We should seek to at least double the size of the co-operative sector in Scotland.  As part of this, we would review the working of Co-operative Development Scotland – giving it the resources it needs and put it on a statutory footing.

I am a strong advocate of a Scottish Marcora law: workers should have the right to buyout the business they work for at a time when it might be sold or close.  But co-operation shouldn’t just be a measure of last resort: we need to look at ways of promoting employee ownership across the economy and giving employees a say on company boards.

If we truly want a level playing field in Scotland, we must make sure everyone pays in fairly. Along with Co-op MSPs, I have been arguing that no bailouts should go to companies continuing to avoid paying tax.  Co-operative MSP Rhoda Grant has led on this in the Parliament over a number of years, and never has the case for us all pay our fair share been stronger.

We know that a fairer economy must also be a greener economy – I know that Co-operative MSP Claudia Beamish and others have been making a strong case for a co-operative green new deal.  We should be looking for ways to include common democratic ownership in the green technologies of the future.

Our financial institutions are letting us down.  Too often the big banks are abandoning our high streets and our communities.  As part of our plans to expand the co-operative sector I am keen that we look at ways in which we can empower the credit union sector.  I also want to see the new Scottish National Investment Bank make a real difference to communities across Scotland not just to shareholders’ bank balances.

There is some really interesting work going on in Scotland to promote building wealth in the heart of our communities, led by Councillor Joe Cullinane in North Ayrshire.  Place should be much more important in economic policy.  There is no one-size fits all approach for the Scottish economy: we need to empower local communities to make decisions that suit local communities and promote their economic well-being. It is communities, not corporations that have led the way during this crisis – and we should recognise that by giving them a bigger stake and say in the economy.

As I said in the Parliament recently, I appeal to all people of good will to work together, to unite to join together in a common endeavour to build a better future.  I believe that in Owning the Future, the Co-operative Party has played an important role in setting out important milestones on the road to recovery, and Scottish Labour will work with the Scottish Co-operative Party to promote these policies and it will contribute to Scottish Labour’s thinking in the weeks and months ahead.

I look forward to speaking more about this at the Scottish Co-operative Party’s Owning The Future event on Saturday – and you’re more than welcome to join me at this event to discuss these ideas over Zoom.

Avoiding an economic cliff edge means narrowing inequality. To do this, more people need a stake in our economy.

Anneliese Dodds – Co-Operative Party

History has taught us that caring for communities, tackling climate change, protecting workers and consumers, and sharing wealth more fairly cannot be left to the market alone.

Britain is the sixth richest country in the world. But this figure masks a much more troubling economic picture. When the UK’s richest six people control as much wealth as the poorest 13 million and when eight million people have trouble putting food on the table, it is clear that our economy is not working.

Covid-19 has brought Britain’s inequality problem into sharp focus. Deaths in the most deprived areas have been more than double those in the least deprived. BAME people are at far greater risk of dying from the disease than white people. The frontline workers we rely on to take the greatest risks during this pandemic experience some of the lowest pay and live in some of the most overcrowded housing.

This inequality is not caused by coronavirus, but inequality left us underprepared and vulnerable to its devastation. This crisis has exposed the precariousness of work, the strain on household incomes, the gaping holes in our safety net and the extent of underfunding of our public services. But it has also revealed our community spirit, our willingness to help a neighbour, to meet crisis with kindness. This new-found co-operation is something we must hold onto.

It is critical too that we learn the lessons of past recessions – learning not just from the policy choices made during the recovery but the causes of their onset. We entered lockdown as one of the most unequal countries in Europe – and this is relevant to our understanding of how we exit lockdown. Throughout history, recessions have been preceded by growing inequality, leaving economies vulnerable and condemning their recovery to being short-lived and weak.

The Co-operative Party’s report ‘Owning the Future’ explores reasons for this. History has taught us that caring for communities, tackling climate change, protecting workers and consumers, and sharing wealth more fairly cannot be left to the market alone. Instead, we must take measures which, if adopted, narrow inequality by widening peoples’ stake in the economy – ending the shareholder primacy that concentrates wealth and power in the hands of a small number of investors and executives. Polling shows that this is something the public back: only 10% of people feel that the pre-coronavirus economy prioritised sharing wealth fairly, but two-thirds want this to be the priority in what comes next.

We cannot afford to be laissez-faire. As well as ensuring the short term measures are in place to guide the economy out of lockdown, such as assurances for workers that their workplaces are safe and for employers that the transition back to work is gradual and flexible, we must put in place the strongest possible foundations for a sustained, resilient and fair recovery.

It is clear that this cannot mean a return to business as usual. A fairer economy must be more attuned to its communities, more resilient to shocks and more productive. This won’t come about by chance: it requires proactive intervention to broaden peoples’ stake in the economy, change the way economic rewards are distributed, and shift the balance of power.

Economies characterised by a bigger co-operative sector have been shown to be more equitable, productive and accountable. Rather than simply extracting profit, co-operatives benefit the communities, consumers and employees with which they interact. They represent the kind of economy we aspire to – one where business and social responsibility go hand-in-hand.

By working together we can build new strength and new solidarity into our communities

Mark Drakeford – Co-operative Party

We must again draw on the Co-operative Party’s ideas and values if we are to re-think and re-cast the Wales of tomorrow in the face of this current moment of disruption and change.

It would have been understandable had Wales Co-operative Party members taken the decision, given the extraordinary circumstances of Coronavirus, to postpone this year’s annual conference. I am glad they didn’t because though the immediate work of responding to Covid is not yet at an end, it is time to begin to look to the future – to the recovery.

To take the lessons and the new ideas that have come out of this crisis and to begin the work of re-building our economy, our public services and our public realm in a new and a stronger way.  One in which the co-operative movement in Wales has an important role to play.

In doing that work here in Wales we have a solid foundation on which to build. I’m proud of what the Welsh Government has done in recent years to take the fantastic work of the Welsh Co-operatives and Mutuals Commission to make real the values of co-operative action across every area of government – fair shares for all.

In social care we have legislated to support the development of not for profit providers and set up the Integrated Care Fund to promote alternative delivery models. In the foundational economy we have established a new £4.5m experimental fund to test new ideas and ways of working through more than 50 pilot projects that we hope to scale up within procurement.

In housing we are testing new models of co-operative homes and communities and in education we are using co-operative ideas to help shape an exciting new curriculum for the next generation of learners.

But it’s when times get tough that principles get really tested. And over the last few weeks I have been exceptionally proud that in Wales we have had Co-operative members of the Senedd in government turning co-operative principles into practical action.

From the work we have done ensuring that vital support is available for co-operative and social enterprise businesses through the crisis; in recognising the food retail sector as key workers eligible for education and childcare support or in making sure that no companies based in a tax haven get access to support through our Economic Resilience Fund – it is no coincidence that during this crisis it has been to ideas grounded in co-operative principles and campaigns that we have most readily turned.

But perhaps the true genius of the co-operative movement lies not only in the practical change it helps us achieve today, but also in the progressive vision it helps us set out for tomorrow. As we think forward to the Senedd elections in 2021 it is to that co-operative vision of tomorrow that we must again draw strength.

We must build on the excellent work done by the Wales Co-operative Centre to promote community wealth building; we must lean on the work of the People’s Railway campaign to reshape bus and rail transport and we must use the consultation work we have already done in Wales to give the force of law to communities wanting to protect assets of local value and significance for future generations.  In each area enshrining the principle that investments made by the community should see benefits shared by the community.

One need only look back at the last century of the Co-op Party’s work to see the profound and lasting impact co-operative ideas have played in progressive change here in Wales. And it is to that reservoir of ideas and values that we must again draw if are to re-think and re-cast the Wales of tomorrow in the face of this current moment of disruption and change. Drawing on the past to look forward to the future.

An approach all the more resonant in light of what coronavirus has shown us – the need to put fair shares back at the heart of our politics, our economy and our public policy. Fair shares for all.

From Robert Owen onwards this is what has hallmarked the co-operative movement – strong principle allied to practical action.  It is to that experience of the co-operative movement, rooted in people and place, that comes out so strongly in the excellent recent Co-op Party report, ‘Owning the Future’.

That excellent report makes the point that 68% of us do not want to lose the renewed sense of community spirit which has developed through the lockdown to end and that through the institutional embedding of co-operative ideas we can build a fairer, more sustainable economy.

That’s an idea I welcome and share. By working together we can build new strength and new solidarity into our communities, by giving new opportunities to those that need it, by re-building our communities around co-operative values of social justice and fairness, and through fair shares for all.

I say loudly and clearly: Black Lives Matter

Vaughan Gething – Co-opertavive Party

This movement and the giants upon whose shoulders it stands paved the way for me and others like me not just to be here, but to hold positions like the one I do as Wales’ Health Minister.

I want to send my solidarity to the people who made their voices heard in Cardiff and elsewhere last weekend to say loudly and clearly that Black Lives Matter.

Solidarity because I am with you. I am one of you in this fight. Because this movement and the giants upon whose shoulders it stands, paved the way for me and others like me not just to be here but to hold positions like the one I do as Wales’ Health Minister.

Many of us who would otherwise be joining protests across Wales and the world are not able to. In Wales we’ve maintained strong measures to protect us all against Covid-19 and to suppress the spread of this virus.

Sadly, one of those measures is to maintain a ban on mass public gatherings for now, and I ask that everyone continues to abide by that rule, although in Cardiff people worked with the police to have social distancing in expressing their disquiet.

But it’s a grim reality that whilst we proclaim that Black Lives Matter in response to the shocking scenes we see in Minneapolis and across the United States of America, we fight a virus that kills black people at four times the rate it kills white people.

Our Government here in Wales, that I’m proud to be a part of, has taken steps to understand why this is and is currently holding an urgent investigation to help us explain why black and other BAME people are dying at much higher rates from Covid-19.

We have taken quick action to help protect BAME people working in our NHS and social care by launching a new risk assessment to support them as they return or continue to work in their life-saving essential jobs.

But while this virus means we cannot gather physically at the moment as we would want to, that is not an excuse for inaction.

To borrow the words of Killer Mike in his now iconic speech last weekend;

“use this time to plot, plan, strategise and organise.”

This virus will pass, Black Lives Will Still Matter, and I will join you when it is safe to do so.

But until then, please stay safe.

Vaughan will be speaking to members at 6pm on Monday 22 June on a Co-operative Welsh economy, post-Covid.  You can register for this event here. 

New polling shows that people want an economy that shares wealth more fairly

Anna Birley, Co-operative Party

A huge 90% did not feel that sharing wealth fairly was given priority in the pre-coronavirus economy, and 82% did not feel that protecting workers and consumers took priority either.

We commissioned Populus to conduct polling on the economy, seeking to understand people’s values and whether they felt these were reflected in the economy – and importantly, what values they want to see in the economy as we recover after lockdown finishes.

The responses paint a clear picture: most people do not feel that the economy works for them and do not believe that sharing wealth fairly or protecting workers and consumers were priorities in the pre-Covid economy.

A huge 90% did not feel that sharing wealth fairly was given priority in the pre-coronavirus economy, and 82% did not feel that protecting workers and consumers took priority either. Over half of respondents stated that the economy is run for the benefit of private business and did not feel that they have a stake in it – by contrast, only a quarter felt that they have a stake in the economy.

The more positive news, however, is that there is broad support for change. Over two thirds of people want to give customers, communities and employees more od a say in how businesses and the economy are run. The majority of respondents believe that more businesses run as co-operatives, owned by customers, employees and/or communities instead of private shareholders would make the economy fairer. Similarly the majority support more co-operative and community banks and credit unions,  ending the use of tax havens, employees on company boards, and corporate governance reform so that companies must consider the environment and community as well as their profits.

Almost two thirds of respondents (64%) believe that mechanisms to allow employees to buyout the business they work for if the company is at risk of closing down would help to create a fairer economy –  showing popular support for a British version of Italy’s Marcora Law. This piece of legislation provides workers at risk of redundancy, when a business or part of a businesses is poised to shut down, with their unemployment benefits as a lump sum in advance to use as capital to buyout the business – as well as access to support and guidance to make it successful. Not only does this keep people in jobs and ensure businesses stay open and productive, it also means the economy can over time shift to a fairer, more democratic structure where employees have a say and a stake in their workplaces.

Something not often covered when analysing polling results is the number of people who don’t know the right answer. We think it’s important to highlight –  of our respondents, 41% didn’t know if profit maximisation should be a focus or not, and 39% didn’t know whether or not it is a good idea to pursue growth at any cost.

After a decade of austerity, a difficult few months of lockdown, and an uncertain economic future, it is unsurprising that people do not feel like they know the answers. With many in insecure work or unsure whether they will still have a job when the furlough scheme ends, ‘don’t know’ is a valid response – and also an opportunity to put forward new ideas on how we reshape the economy. At a time of deep political polarisation, results showing that people are open to different policy options should be cause for hope and a rallying call to those of us with ideas for a fairer, more equal future.