Prosperity and justice: A plan for the new economy

The IPPR Commission on Economic Justice is a landmark initiative to
rethink economic policy for post-Brexit Britain

The IPPR Commission on Economic Justice was established in autumn 2016 in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. The purpose of the Commission was broadly conceived: to examine the challenges facing the UK economy and to make recommendations for its reform.

The members of the Commission come from all walks of life and different political viewpoints. They voted on different sides of the EU referendum, and the Commission is independent of all political parties.

The Commission’s Interim Report was published in September 2017, setting out our analysis of the condition of the economy and the causes of its weak performance. The Commission has also published 17 discussion and policy papers to inform its work and to stimulate public debate. These papers provide more detail on the analysis and proposals made in this report. The Interim Report and full set of papers are available at here.

Given the breadth of Commissioners, we have reached a remarkable degree of agreement, which we hope can be reflected in a wider national consensus about a new direction for the UK economy. Our proposals are deliberately ambitious. Taken together, we believe they offer the potential for the most significant change in economic policy in a generation. We hope that this report can spark a national conversation on why we need a change of direction, and what that direction should be.

Co-Operative Party – Community Energy: Repowering London

Barnet Co-op Party Branch Meeting

Next Meeting 5th December 2018 at 8pm

Chipping Barnet Labour Party Offices, 104 East Barnet Road, EN4 8RE

Barnet Co-operative Party is hosting a talk by community energy specialist Dr Afsheen Rashid. Afsheen is the CEO of Repowering London . A former Senior Policy Advisor at the Department of Energy and Climate Change and current Chair of Community Energy England, Afsheen is a leading figure in the field of community energy generation and was awarded an MBE in the 2016 New Year’s Honours List for her work in renewable energy in deprived London communities. In her talk, Dr Raschid will talk about the community-owned solar energy project on the Banister House Estate in Hackney.

Banister House Solar

Banister House Solar is the first community owned solar energy project in Hackney as well as the UK’s largest community energy project on social housing. Hackney Council commissioned Repowering London to develop this project in January 2014. Repowering London has worked to develop this project alongside residents of the Banister House Estate and local energy advocacy group Hackney Energy. The project development has been funded and supported by Hackney Council.

On the 3rd of October 2015 Banister House Solar went live, generating renewable, community-owned electricity for the Banister House Estate and its residents.

Key Achievements 

Social

  • The co-operative was established with 4 local directors from Banister House Estate.
  • 25 local young people were engaged in the 30 week paid internship programme.
  • 6 local young people benefitted from paid work experience installing solar panels on their estate. 

Environmental

  • In total 102 kWp of solar array has been installed on the estate.
  • Over the project’s 20-year lifetime, 679 tonnes of CO2 will be prevented from entering the atmosphere.
  • Since it went live, Banister House Solar has generated 92,385 kWh of clean renewable electricity (November 2016). This is roughly equivalent to the electricity usage of 38 average Banister flats for a full year.
  • This means that Banister House Solar has saved around 42 tonnes of C02 from entering the atmosphere since its launch.

Financial 

  • £149,000 of capital funds were raised through a community share offer to fund the project

£20,000 will be generated for the Community Fund. The following areas were selected by the community to benefit from the fund:

  • Energy efficiency measures for the Banister House homes
  • Opportunities for young people living in Banister House
  • Community activities on the estate 
  • Hackney Council will benefit from a potential savings of £20,000 in energy costs over the lifetime of the project 

CND Trade Unions: Trident and Jobs

Trident’s replacement will cost at least £205 billion of public money. A staggering figure, particularly when we consider the nuclear weapons system has no real military value and is useless in the face of the real threats we face today, such as terrorism, climate change and cyber-attacks and could be rendered obsolete by new technology. But many try to argue that this investment is worth it because of the jobs the nuclear weapon system sustains.

People’s livelihoods matter. But an objective appraisal of the jobs associated with Trident, Britain’s nuclear weapons system, and its replacement will demonstrate that these are among the most costly jobs ever created. By simply re-directing a proportion of the money allocated to the Trident replacement programme to other industries, it would be possible to create many more, highly specialised and well-paid jobs. This transition programme would directly benefit those currently working on Britain’s nuclear weapons. Society as a whole would benefit from the shift to more productive jobs. And of course, humanity as a whole would benefit from the reduction in the numbers of weapons of mass destruction.

 

Read report here: Trident-and-Jobs

Report from A New Lucas Plan Workshop

Attendees at the Trades Council conference workshop hosted by The New Lucas Plan group heard introductions from John Routley former Lucas Shop Stewards Combine and Steve Schofield researcher for Lessnet (The Local Economic Sustainability and Security Network) and author of Oceans of Work: Arms Conversion revisited. Discussion centred on the original Lucas plan and its relevance for today. By the end there was agreement that with long term planning and investment, particularly in High-Tec growth areas like wind and marine energy, the creation of alternative, sustainable, socially-useful, high skill, high value employment was possible and desirable but only achievable by a Government prepared to invest time, money, with sustained political will and a Labour Leadership that reflects our values-as we now have!

However, success was only possible if there was engagement with defence workers and their Unions and representatives at the very start and heart of the process. They are the ones to identify their needs, capacity and to initiate ideas for the drawing up of practical arms conversion plans whilst protecting skilled employment and pay levels, in the same way that Lucas Aerospace workers did over 40 years ago. It was felt given the sensitivities around this issue Trades Union Council’s, based in their local communities, were well placed to initiate, and develop those discussions locally.

You can see John and Steve’s introductory workshop speeches on https://www.facebook.com/greatermanchester.cnd/videos/804404266416772/.

Following on the film THE PLAN – that came from the bottom up tells the story of those pioneering Lucas workers and the ideas that were the motivation for the Arms Conversion/Defence Diversification motion passed at the TUC Congress in 2017.

Frances O’Grady has written this about the film “Throughout the union movement’s 150-year history, our cause has been to make working lives better. But there are times when we have gone further, we have challenged the very nature and the purpose of the work that we do. The Lucas Plan was created during one of those times. It holds out hope that production can be transformed to create a fairer, greener world. And it is testimony to the wealth of genius to be found on the shop floor. This will be a must-see film for every trade unionist – please support it.”. You can do so by donating through crowdfunding using this link https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-plan-community/x/11054043#/ or get more information via http://www.theplandocumentary.com

Of course, a key means in developing any industrial strategy would be the National Investment Bank proposed by John McDonell who has stated that such a bank could support the development of diversification plans in the local economies of areas heavily dependent on the defence industry, in consultation with local Unions and businesses.

In addition, a shadow Defence Diversification agency would also help deliver a future Labour Government’s goals of an ethical foreign policy and secure sustainable jobs, guaranteeing as Jeremy Corbyn said in his 2015 Labour Leadership statement “A just transition for communities whose livelihoods are based in those defence sectors, so that engineering and scientific skills are not lost but transferred into more socially productive industries”.

Building on from the workshop there are a few public meetings taking place on Defence diversification/arms conversion-Labour CND AGM; Parliamentary launch of Nuclear Education Trust report; Labour CND fringe at Unite conference; Yorkshire CND meeting with Fabian Hamilton.

You can continue discussion with both Steve Schofield on steveschofield@phonecoop.coop

And John Routley through john.routley@hotmail.co.uk

Thanks Moz Greenshields workshop chair

Co-operatives Unleashed: Doubling the Size of the UK’s Co-operative Sector

The New Economics Foundation (NEF) has launched an independent report, commissioned by the Co-operative Party, which sets out an ambitious vision for our co-operative movement.

‘Co-operatives Unleashed: Doubling the Size of the UK Co-operative Sector’, calls for significant expansion in the co-operative sector, and outlines five steps that policymakers could take to achieve this aim.

Read more and help us spread the word using the links below:

Ownership Matters: the democratic alternative to privatisation

The new report goes further than ever before in explaining how democratic public ownership can work in practice, and how the model can bring water, energy and rail back into public control.

The Co-operative Party’s approach is shaped by our co-operative values, with the emphasis on accountability and on ensuring that the voice of customers, staff and the taxpayer are at the heart of how these industries are run.
The report calls for:

  • Not-for-profit, regional water companies which are owned and run by trusts accountable to employees and consumers.
  • Rail services run by not-for-profit train service providers replacng train operating companies, and a new democratic ‘Guiding Mind’ for the railways to take over from Network Rail.
  • A new Energy Security Board, accountable to energy customers, employees and other stakeholders, and charged with securing the nation’s energy future; democratic regional distribution grids owned and run by consumer and employee trusts; a new generation of community-owned and co-operative renewable generation and energy supply; and a publicly-owned power generation company for large-scale generation.

Download here: ownership-matters-final-3mm

Labour’s Triumphant #neweconomics

Yesterday, the Labour Party held a conference that put some serious theoretical grounding for the ideas that drove the enthusiasm for the party’s manifesto of last year. It started with production of a report commissioned by John McDonnell into “Alternative Models of Ownership”, which uses studies from round the world (including here in Britain) into how genuinely innovative alternatives to both the private sector and the old model of centralised nationalisation can make our society better. The link is here.

The scope of the event was very broad, and included:

  • Combining and democratising different forms of ownership, including municipalisation and co-operatism.
  • Looking at how privatised services are, right now, being in-sourced throughout the world in an almost “silent revolution” in services that is happening on all continents and across the Global North/South divide.
  • How modern technology affects work, removing some jobs but actually creating others, and how the role of organised labour is essential to directing automation and AI in a progressive and ethical way.
  • How the knowledge and data-based economy has become severely monopolistic and how democratic structures, like radical municipal authorities in Barcelona (or even our very own Transport for London) can resist this and form a data commons and digital sovereignty that works for people not a tiny number of massive multinational businesses.
  • How participatory authorities, many of which have formed as a result of an unlikely alliance between grassroots campaigners and tech experts frustrated by the problems with neoliberalism, have been assembled and work in practice.
  • Putting forward our positive vision of how technology and industry could be like. The legacy of Mike Cooley and the Lucas aerospace workers was a really important touchstone for this.

The conference opened with big names, culminating in a closing speech by Jeremy Corbyn, but the contributions and questions from the floor were also really good and Jeremy actually referenced this in his summing up. But the most exciting thing about it was something raised by veteran campaigner Hilary Wainwright, who said that for the first time, we have a socialist vision that is built not around putting all our faith into massive scale nationalisation run by the state, but by the participation of ordinary working people, and that the closest we’d ever really got to this before was not 1945 (which, in any case, we all know cannot go back to) but to the brief experiment in which Tony Benn tried to collaborate with the Lucas workers back in 1977. Our socialism will not be top-down: it will be decentralised democratic public ownership.

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