The Co-operative Party has launched a campaign to encourage members of The Co-operative Group to vote in favour of the society continuing to provide it with financial support.

The Co-op Group has provided The Co-op Party with financial support for many years. In its 2013 annual results, the society revealed it made an annual donation of £579,446 to the party, as well as £228,150 in additional donations and grants.

However, in December this year The Co-op Group confirmed it was putting it continued financial support of political parties to a vote at its AGM after its Have Your Say poll found 63% were not aware the society provided financial support to The Co-op Party and 74% thought it was inappropriate for big businesses to donate to political parties.

The Co-op Party’s campaign,, is calling on Group members to back the continued support of the party.

“We believe the partnership with The Co-operative Party is vital if the Group wants to be at the heart of a co-operative resurgence,” the party said on its campaign website.

“Our aim is to deepen and enhance the link so the Group and its Members benefit, as well as society and our communities. We can create a stronger, more sustainable future together,” it added.

“If the Co-operative Group, as Britain’s largest co-operative, wants to continue to make a difference, working to the co-operative movements’ values and principles, it needs to keep the link to political action.”

Members of The Co-operative Party, which has had an electoral agreement with the Labour Party since 1927, include shadow chancellor Ed Balls and deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party Kezia Dugdale.