Seeking to re-launch the debate and exchange of ideas this is the first in a series of papers to be developed across 2013. Our ambition is to start to engage with academics, practitioners, campaigners and Labour Party members across Wales and beyond to develop ideas and policy recommendations for a fairer, sustainable and prosperous Wales under a Labour government.
Last year at the Labour Festival of Ideas we ran a session on the potential for community currencies as a means of developing sustainable local economies in Wales, and one of the contributing papers, by Dawn Davies, builds on this to discuss the uses of time banking in community development. The focus on communities is maintained by Dave Horton in his assessment of Communities First and recommendations for developing the initiative within a co-operative and mutual ethos. Such values underpin Andrew Lycett’s discussion of social housing in Wales seeking to offer a co-operative approach to one of the biggest challenges we face on the public policy front.
Overarching these discussions however is our main article by Stephen Brooks. Setting out the case for the development of co-operative councils in Wales, Brooks offers a comprehensive review of the issue within the UK as a whole. This runs alongside an account of how Welsh Labour can lead the reform of local government building on its success in the 2012 local elections.
The ideas outlined in this pamphlet seek to start the debate across the Labour party in Wales on the direction its policy should develop. But it is also a starting point for Ideas Wales. Throughout 2013 we will be seeking to build on this paper and develop future papers into other policy areas. We hope that you will engage in this process and participate in Ideas Wales future debates and publications.