But, amid all of the difficulties the Spanish people are facing, co-operatives in Valencia added jobs in the past year. Anecoop and Consum, two co-operatives I am very much looking forward to visiting, have put in strong financial performances in difficult economic circumstances. Consum has even found the impetus and funds to dramatically improve its environmental performance. That’s the co-operative difference!
I’m travelling to Valencia in Spain’s sunny south tomorrow. While the sun may shine on its inhabitants much of the year, news that the Spanish Government may hike taxes on basics like milk, bread and sanitary items as part of continuing austerity measures has hit a population already reeling from one quarter of its population being without a job, with the figures for young unemployed being particularly cruel at around 50 per cent.
And the government of Mariano Rajoy is doing its bit to help fund entrepreneurial activity and self-employment in the social economy by boosting its spending in this area. With this in mind, just consider if some of the funds that have been used to bail out failing banks in the past months, or allocated to the now nonetheless desired high court probe into Bankia – Spain’s fourth largest bank – had been put into co-operative development? That would have done much to help the Spanish people get through the pain, and helped Spain jump the very real hurdles in front of it on the bumpy path to economic recovery.