Louise is a Labour Co-op candidate which means she is also standing for Labour's sister party, the Co-operative Party.
What is the Co-operative Party?
The Co-operative Party champions co-operative values and believes that people will achieve more by working together than they can by working alone. It believes that through increased co-operation, we will achieve a sustainable future for our economy and society as a whole.
Since 1927 they have had an agreement with Labour to stand joint candidates. There are currently 31 Labour Co-op MPs including Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls.
The Co-operative Party's 'Agenda for Britain'
This is the Co-op's policy platform of the 2015 election.
Louise supports the Co-operative vision for establishing a ‘John Lewis Economy’ – where employees are able to share in the ownership, decision-making and profits of Britain’s businesses.
From co-operative trust schools to social housing mutuals, we have seen the benefits that genuine mutual endeavour can bring to public services; providing real democratic accountability, giving users, employees and other stakeholders a real say in how their organisations are run. This way the quality of service is not dependent on the commands of producer interests or the whims of market forces, but on frontline expertise and the needs of the people that they serve. When established as genuine mutuals, public assets are locked into community ownership, providing further protection against privatisation and asset stripping.
For almost 100 years, the Co-operative Party has stood for giving economic and political power to everyone in our society. This ideal has never been more relevant. The time for action is now.
The Co-op's Agenda for Britain calls for:
- Every company with more than 50 employees to be obliged to set up a profit sharing scheme with their staff
- The introduction of a ‘duty to involve’ employees in company decision making
- Employees to be represented on company boards.
- Changing the tax incentives on employee ownership so that they are targeted at schemes that give employees a collective, democratic voice.
- Statutory right to request employee ownership during business succession
Other policies include:
Support for credit unions
The Government should impose a levy on payday lenders which would be used to build the capacity of credit unions and other providers as a means of providing affordable alternatives. Part of this money should be used to offer a £20 deposit into a credit union account for every child, opened in their first year at primary school.
Louise is a passionate advocate of credit unions and is supporting Tees Credit Union to open extra collection points and encourage more ethical savers. She has also visited the Cleveland branch of the Police Credit Union in Stockton to see how they operate.
The Ministry of Defence should work with service charities and the credit union movement to deliver on its commitment to support the development of an Armed Forces credit union. Louise personally called for this and is delighted that the Labour Party will be including it in the final manifesto.
Increase in community energy:
The Government should offer a new right for communities to invest in new energy generation projects and to take over ownership of their local electricity grid supply. Louise has expressed her support for community energy schemes here. They can help keep bills down and put the power in the hands of local people, literally.
The Government should legislate to enable a not-for-profit operator, run in adherence to co-operative principles, to be established on the railway. Louise is disappointed that a public or cooperative operator was not allowed to bid for the East Coast rail franchise. As a ‘guiding mind’ for the railway, Network Rail should adopt a genuine mutual structure to become more accountable to passengers and the public.
The Government should give fans the right to appoint a minimum of two board directors of all football clubs. Supporters’ trusts should be guaranteed the option to buy up to 10 per cent of the shares of a club at the point of transfer of ownership. The Government should also legislate to protect club names and club colours from change without the approval of a legally constituted supporters’ trust
Free and Fair Trade:
The Co-operative Party believes that trade is an important tool in driving economic growth, improving living standards and the fight against global poverty. The UK Government should continue to champion an end to trade distorting subsidies and tariffs which stop developing countries being able to sell their goods at fair prices in more economically developed markets.
The Government should campaign for lower, or no, EU tariffs for fairly traded products and a change in international trade rules to create favourable tariff regimes for sustainably produced products.