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Co-op Group members vote to continue funding political parties



55% of those who voted have backed continuing subscription fees to Labour’s sister party, the Co-operative Party. With a potential electorate of 2.8m, the votes cast was just over 88,000.

The future of the Co-operative party was hanging in the balance on Saturday [link to previous story] as 2.8m members were asked whether the group should continue its £1m annual subscription fee to the party.

But members voted in favour of the motion to approve “political expenditures” with 48,579 (55%) for, to 39,479 (45%) against, a 10% margin. The motion was part of a number of proposed reforms put forward to overhaul the governance of the group after a series of scandals.

The outcome of the vote was welcomed by the General Secretary of the Co-operative Party, Karin Christiansen. She said, “The Co-operative Party has been the political voice of the co-operative movement for 98 years and we look forward to continuing our successful relationship with the Co-operative Group in light of today’s clear and decisive result.

“Co-operative Group members voted to support this partnership, which has done so much to advance the co-operative cause and to extend and widen people’s ownership, decision-making and a share in the profits of businesses serving their communities. 

“The Co-operative Party looks forward to working with the Co-operative Group’s board and new national members’ council to plan our future work together.”

The group has seen large losses in recent years after it came dangerously close to collapse in 2013. It saw £2.5bn in losses that same year along with an executive pay scandal, in which the CEO resigned, and a drugs scandal involving the chairman of its banking arm.

The vote came on Saturday, just after the General Secretary of the party Karin Christiansen told Blue & Green Tomorrow in an interview that it could begin to make a significant contribution to the revival of the British left, just a week after its sister party Labour had been disastrously defeated in the general election.

The party suffered a fatal blow last week after the shadow chancellor and Labour and Co-operative MP for Outwood and Morley Ed Balls was unseated by Conservative Andrea Jenkyns. He has been replaced in the role of shadow chancellor by Labour and Co-operative MP Chris Leslie.

Image: sludgegulper via Flickr

Further reading:

‘Keep it Co-op’: another critical vote

Co-op members unanimous on group overhaul

Co-op board ‘manifestly dysfunctional’, says review by Lord Myners

Co-op Bank reveals £1.3bn loss of 2013

Book review: The Co-operative Revolution: A Graphic Novel – Polyp (2012)




A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon




energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”



IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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