Tessa Jowell MP, Labour's Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, said today at the launch of Lambeth as the UK’s first Co-operative Council:
“Today we are seeing Lambeth lead the way coming in putting our founding values of mutualism, self-help and responsibility at the forefront of Labour’s vision of the good society.
“What they are doing goes beyond what any Local Authority has ever done before – in developing a new relationship between an institution of Government and the people that they serve.
“Providing help and support for community groups so they can have a stronger voice in their neighbourhood. Trusting people to exercise greater control over the services that they rely on. Public services of the community, by the community and for the community.
“What is happening here today is the opposite of this Tory-led Government’s failed Big Society approach. The problem with it is that it’s a marketing slogan rathe r than a policy – an attempt to steal Labour’s language of fairness, solidarity and responsibility - and to reduce our movement's founding values to a marketing slogan.
“For a Government that says that it wants to build up our communities - it has an odd way of going about it. ACEVO, an organisation that represents charity groups, has estimated that community organisations are going to face cuts of £4.5 billion this year. Across the country, civil society organisations are facing real difficulties – forced into laying off staff and reducing the services that they have to offer.
“What is becoming increasingly clear is that when they say ‘we’re all in this together’ what they mean is that ‘it’s your problem not ours.’”<div>