“I never became a socialist, I lived it! Our cooperative values are learnt from family looking after the next person as equally as ourselves”. Chris Evans Labour and Cooperative MP for Iswyn
Chris Evans Labour and Cooperative MP for Iswyn

Stroud Cooperative Party welcomed Chris Evans, the Labour MP for Islwyn in South Wales to their recent Annual General Meeting. Chris is an old friend of Labour in Gloucestershire having been Labour’s candidate in Cheltenham in 2005.

Like our own MP, David Drew, Chris is a passionate Labour and Cooperative MP. The Cooperative Party is a sister part of the Labour and advances the social and economic benefits of cooperation.

Chris spoke warmly about the role that Tyrone O’Sullivan had played in the development of the Tower Colliery Co-operative, where the workers faced with the closure of the Pit following ,Thatcher’s attack on the mining industry, took over the mine and kept it in operation until it ran out of coal reserves in about 2008. He said it had been successful because the whole community supported it.

Chris also spoke about about Labour’s nationalisation plans recognising that  “old nationalisation won’t work” and arguing that we have to be more “vocal for cooperative solutions” looking at regional cooperative companies which create partnership between stakeholders including customers. He also highlighted that one size fits all will not work and we need services tailored to local needs quoting the example of different railway services being required in different areas.  

Talking about the impact of national cuts to local authority services he commented “How are we going to design services for local people I don’t think we have any alternative to local cooperatives”. In subsequent discussion the development of the Subscription Rooms Trust was highlighted by speakers.

Chris Evans MP has taken a particular interest in financial exclusion in Parliament and as a backbencher promoted the Banking Disclosure and Responsibility Bill which aimed to tackle financial exclusion. Chris spoke about the benefits of growing Credit Unions and highlighted the support provided by the Labour led Welsh Government. Noting that “illegal lenders still knocking on the door and need to promote credit unions better including in schools”

He talked about the extensive reduction of the building society sector in the 1990’s with wheelers and dealers converting them into banks noting that all of them had failed as  banks. He believed there is an opportunity for the larger Credit Unions to provide mortgage loans and become building societies in the future.

Chris in conclusion talked about his socialist and cooperative values noting “I never became a socialist, I lived it!  Our cooperative values are learnt from family looking after the next person as equally as ourselves”.

Membership of the Cooperative Party is open to all who share the Cooperative Values and Principles. You can join on-line https://party.coop/join/

A photograph of people with David Drew MP and Chris Evans MP who attended the AGM meeting on 15 June 2019 in Stroud
A photograph of people with David Drew MP and Chris Evans MP who attended the AGM meeting on 15 June 2019 in Stroud
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