Hazel Blears : Votes For 64.57% / Against 35.43% - Elected
Occupation: Labour Member of Parliament 1997-2015 Trade: Food, Insurance, Bank, Pharmacy
As a member of the Co-operative Group for over 20 years I know that Co-op members like you want the Group to succeed providing top quality food and services to our Communities at fair prices, sharing our profits and helping those in need – it’s a great and worthwhile mission.
Co-operative values and principles have been central to my life and work. I would welcome the chance to join you in championing our cause.
What does it really mean to be a co-operator?
In 1844 in Rochdale ordinary working people without power, money or influence came together to do something amazing. They knew that they could achieve very little as individuals to make sure that their families could buy good quality unadulterated food at fair prices. So they decided to stand up to those unscrupulous suppliers who sought to exploit them, to organise together and to use their collective skills and experience to set up and run their own shops.
That was the simple beginnings of our co-operative movement– brave, intelligent, resourceful and determined men and women working together to build a better life for everyone. Their energy and determination are needed just as much by our Co-operative Group today.
I have been a Co-operative Group member for over 20 years. I have shopped and banked with The Co-op throughout that time and Co-op Values have shaped my personal and working life. Organising together, helping people and communities to change their own lives, have been central to the policies I have developed, the relationships I have forged, the organisations I have supported and the decisions I have made.
My journey from being a young grass roots community activist chairing my community health council in Salford, campaigning for a Law Centre, fighting for funds to regenerate our City to leading a major Government Department with a £7 billion budget and 5000 staff has been based on enduring values of working with others to achieve positive change and giving everyone the chance to do well.
As a member of the Co-operative Commission set up by the Prime Minister in 2000 I helped to drive change in The Co-operative Group which resulted in an improvement In the trading position at that time but I believe that more could and should have been done to address the underlying problems of skills, competence and the management and governance of the Group.
Today we are still in a precarious position and I want us to have the courage to change so that we can fulfil the promise of those who have gone before us. We need to build a first class co-operative organisation that can provide high quality goods and services at fair prices, that treats its employees fairly, that is profitable and able to help others share in our success.
I have many of the necessary skills to bring to the Board to help us manage this period of change and reconstruction. I have managed large budgets, delivered major projects, led and motivated large groups of people and worked with others to achieve positive change.
Most importantly I am passionate about co-operating. I want to work with the Board and with all of you to build a Group and a movement we can all be proud of.
We have a great and worthwhile mission. I would be proud to be your Champion and to help our Co-operative Group be the best.