Welsh Government Commission will help develop the co-operative economy in Wales
The Wales Co-operative Centre has welcomed the creation of a Co-operative and Mutuals Commission for Wales, announced on Tuesday 17 July, by Edwina Hart MBE, OStJ AM, Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science.
The Commission, which will be chaired by Professor Andrew Davies, Swansea University’s Strategic Adviser, is tasked with making recommendations on growing and developing the co-operative and mutual economy in Wales, in order to create jobs and wealth in support of the Welsh Government’s aims and ambitions.
The Commission is being launched to coincide with the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives 2012.
Research published in January by the Wales Co-operative Centre to mark the start of the International Year, showed that co-operatives in Wales generate an income of over £1billion a year and offer a tried and tested way of developing a more sustainable economy, whilst tackling unemployment and inequality.
‘Co-operatives in the Welsh Economy’ – written by the Bevan Foundation – revealed that co-operatives are already a dynamic, thriving section of the Welsh economy employing around 7,000 people in almost all sectors, from retailing and financial services to farming, pharmacy, renewable energy, manufacturing and the arts.
Derek Walker, Chief Executive of the Wales Co-operative Centre, applauded the establishment of the Commission, saying: “Organisations in the co-operative sector will be delighted that Welsh Government has decided to set up a Commission on Co-operatives and Mutuals during the UN International Year of Co-operatives. Co-operatives already play a significant role in the economy and society of Wales. The Commission will consider the advantages to be gained from an expanded role for co-operatives and mutuals in the future and how this could be supported.”
Mrs Hart will make a further announcement on the membership of the Commission after the summer recess.