Jonathan Evans MP
Jonathan Evans MP speaking at the launch of the APPG for Mutuals

Yesterday (20th May 2013) saw the launch of the new APPG for Mutuals at a Parliamentary Reception in Westminster. The launch was attended by MPs from each of the main parties as well as experts from across the mutual sector.

The purpose of the new All-Party Group (APPG) is to discuss and support mutuals in Parliament. There is no doubt that over the past few years, mutuals of all types have received more attention from each of the political parties; all three of the main parties showed an interest in mutuals in their manifestos in the run up to the General Election in 2010 and since then, the Coalition Agreement included a commitment to promote mutuals.

This interest goes beyond the confines of building societies and financial services mutuals. For example, there has been much Government activity in promoting employee owned mutuals to run public services. Another example of the extension of the mutual sector is the Government’s plan to convert the Post Office to a multi-stakeholder mutual. Other community based mutuals such as football supporter trusts have also raised the interest of Ministers and Parliamentary colleagues.

Whilst it is recognised that there are other All-Party Groups that undertake very successful work in specific mutual areas such as the APPG for Credit Unions, the APPG for Employee Ownership and the APPG for Social Enterprise; this All-Party Parliamentary Group will cover issues related to the broader mutual sector including co-operatives, financial mutual and building societies, community mutual and public service mutual.

There is a clear need for activities related to mutuals to be more widely scrutinised in Parliament and the expertise of this Group will aim to contribute directly into this debate.

 

Membership of the APPG

Membership of the Group is made up of MPs and Peers from all political parties, so far 151 Members from both Houses of Parliament have joined.

Meetings

Full meetings of the Group will take place at least three times a year and each meeting will discuss the priorities and administration of the Group. The Chair is Jonathan Evans MP and Mutuo provide administrative duties.

The Group’s Work Programme in 2013/14

Special Hearings:

The group will undertake three Special Hearings over the coming year. They will be structured meetings considering specific topics of interest, and, each lasting 2 hours with witnesses from the wider mutual sector and each leading to a short report being published by the Group.

i) Football Supporters Trusts – What is the vision for the future of supporter-owned football clubs?

ii) How can mutuals raise capital without destroying the mutual principle?

iii) Converting Post Office Ltd to a mutual

The following additional activities are also planned:

Events

• The APPG plans to hold fringe meetings at each of the three main party conferences, which will challenge each of the parties’ policy responses to the mutual sector.

• The APPG will hold a session at the 2013 Mutuals Forum, which brings together leaders from across the mutual sector. It is being held on 31 October at Kings Place, London.

To find out more, please contact m.willetts@mutuo.coop.