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Rebuilding the Welsh Economy post Covid-19

Now is the time to grow the co-operative economy in order to change, adapt and build back better, writes Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport. #KeepCooperating

By Catherine Evans · 22 June 2020

See this page in: Cymraeg

Co-operatives have a key role in contributing to the lives and livelihoods of people in Wales as they recover from the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic.

At present we do not know the full impact of the pandemic on the co-operative and wider social enterprise sector here in Wales, however what coronavirus has done is accelerate the need to change, adapt and to build back better.

These last few months have shown us that we respond to crisis with kindness. Despite the pain and disruption that Covid-19 has caused, communities across Wales have responded not with conflict, but with co-operation and this will be crucial going forward.

Within the “Owning the Future” report there are a number of important practical proposals in which the future could be shaped.

For example “a plan for co-operative expansion” which means not only a larger number of co-operative businesses owned and run by consumers, employees and/or communities, and a larger market share for co-operatives, but it also means instilling co-operative values into other businesses.

A plan for a place-based economy recognises the crucial impact on the locations in which they are owned and operate and links closely to our approach on Regional Economic Development and the Foundational Economy which I am passionate about developing in Wales.

For a fair and sustainable recovery, the sector in Wales is looking at creating a framework which will work for everyone and which rewards behaviours that reflect our values and contributes to a wider common good. This means growing the co-operative sector, but also implementing the hard wiring of co-operative values and principles into the DNA of the wider economy.

The fairer economy that we want to see must be more attuned to its communities, it must share power as well as redistributing wealth, and it must be grounded in co-operative values. This won’t come about by chance – it requires proactive intervention to widen ownership and change the way economic rewards are distributed.

There is huge potential for co-operatives and social enterprises to be the business model of choice for entrepreneurs, delivering solutions to social, economic and environmental challenges. We will continue to work to ensure Wales is the best place to start and grow a social enterprise.

This blog is published as part of a series for Co-operatives Fortnight 2020. Let’s build something better together. #KeepCooperating

Lee Waters

“Communities across Wales have responded not with conflict, but with co-operation, and this will be crucial going forward.”