Labour’s economic strategy is about creating a fairer, more prosperous society for the many, not just the few. Labour in government will measure its economic success not by the number of billionaires, but by the ability of all people to live richer lives.

Labour understands that the creation of wealth is a collective endeavour between workers, entrepreneurs, investors and government. Each contributes and each must share fairly in the rewards. The main manifesto theme at the 2017 election was about rebalancing the economy. This means putting less emphasis on the financial sector and real effort into improving the productive economy through public ownership, environmental protection and fair social spending. The creation of a national investment bank and regional development banks is crucial to this.

Labour is committed to a wide ranging programme of public ownership. Water, railways, energy and Royal Mail are to be brought back into the public sphere. This means that essential services will be run in the interest of the public good rather than private gain. In some cases, depending on the nature of the public service, this will require a new form of nationalisation where planning and performance are organised centrally and democratically. In others, locally planned public ownership initiatives will involve workers in conjunction with consumers organised on co-operative principles. This will entail ordinary people creating and running the services they need. Although a Labour government is essential to putting the economy onto a better footing, we don’t have to sit back and wait until the next election before we start to act.

Campaigning now for a fairer, more successful economy is essential. Working people deserve stronger trades unions to safeguard and extend employment rights and consumers need better protection from rogue traders and advertisers. People, as workers and as consumers, should be able to share in an economy that encourages socially useful and cooperatively planned projects. One such example of an alternative business model currently operating in the Hexham constituency is the Broadband for the Allen Valleys project known as B4AV. It aims to provide fast but inexpensive broadband for the community and is registered as a not-for-profit, community benefit society. This means it can never be bought by a commercial operator and its profits can only be distributed back into the local community. The core investment is made up of shares and all shareholding members have one vote. Shares are mainly purchased by people living in the Allen Valleys with volunteers managing and delivering the whole project. So the project is a form of cooperative in which communities can invest as well as benefit from its service. You can find out more here http://www.b4av.org/

Broadband for the Allen Valleys isn’t going to create billionaires but it will help members of the community live richer lives.