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Plaid calls for support for workers to start and run their own businesses

Jill Evans MEP n

'Robert Owen' Employee Ownership Centre should be located in Wales
On the anniversary of the birth of Welsh social reformer, Robert Owen, Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans has called for a new centre to be established in Wales, promoting community and co-operative business ownership.

The European Union is looking to establish a network of Employee Ownership Centres to be established in each EU member state. Plaid Cymru is calling for the UK 's centre to be located in Wales as part of its campaign for the 2014 European elections,

Newtown in mid-Wales is the birthplace of Robert Owen – a pioneer of the co-operative movement and social reformer.

The EU is keen to promote employee ownership. They will promote and encourage co-operatism and employee ownership, and will provide information, training and advice to employees, companies, and the public.

Plaid says that in these times of economic difficulty we need to look at innovative and imaginative ways of creating sustainable jobs. The party wants to build on the success of the existing network of thriving social enterprises in Wales and emulate successful employee ownership models from other countries, such as Mondragon in the Basque Country which employs over 80,000 people.

Plaid MEP Jill Evans said:

"Wales was the birthplace of the co-operative movement and today we can help build a Europe-wide renaissance in employee ownership. The potential for creating new, sustainable, quality jobs is significant.

"We already have an established network of social enterprises and our own Wales Co-operative Centre. We should build upon that success and give broader support for employee ownership programmes.

"Mondragon, the Basque workers co-operative, is now the seventh largest company in all of Spain, employing over 80,000 people in a network of 289 employee-owned companies. Imagine the potential in Wales if we could emulate that kind of success.

"Bringing the UK 's Employee Ownership Centre to Wales could help make a real difference to our economy.

"An Employee Ownership Centre would help create new, better jobs, and develop a more diverse and innovative private sector. Being part of this new Europe-wide network of centres would bring recognition of our contribution to date and the important role we have yet to play.

"More than two hundred years after his birth, let's set-up a 'Robert Owen Centre' in Wales , backed with European funding, could help bring about a new dawn in employee ownership."

For more about Mondragon see http://www.mondragon-corporation.com/eng/

For more information about Robert Owen, see http://robert-owen-museum.org.uk/

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