Opinion Piece - Blog

Community wealth building: tackling inequality and poverty locally

Many local places face significant challenges. On the one hand, sluggish or no growth, coupled to rising inequality and poverty is placing significant pressure on public services. On the other, austerity and cuts to local government and public services are reducing the ability by which the public sector can act. There is a lot of commentary about the causes of inequality and poverty but a lack of real action.

Public spending: it ain’t just about efficiencies

In November last year, I was delighted to be asked to give evidence to the communities and local government committee inquiry into local government procurement. The session gave Cles the opportunity to highlight the work we have been undertaking over the last five years on local government spend and how to use it for creating great economies, lives and places.

Smart Cities for the many not the few

Our cities are entering a new challenging age of resource constraints, economic uncertainty, social instability and environmental change. We need solutions. New technology has a key role in this. So it was with hope, that I travelled to Barcelona for the Smart City Expo and World Congress.

Want to see the real economic picture? Take your boom goggles off

I was in Australia recently. I was primarily speaking at the competitive cities conference. However, I also did some masterclasses, and caught up with the Centre’s Australian resilience research. At the conference, I was privileged to share a platform with Ed Glaeser, professor of economics at Harvard and author of The Triumph of the City. At one point he mentioned the problem of the ‘boondoggles’ – I did not know the term, but I now know it means a pointless scheme which wastes time and money. However, in my jet lag, I thought he said ‘boom goggles’, which I took to mean those who always see the imminent arrival of a new economic boom

If you don’t like capitalism and don’t like socialism, what do you want?

Ted Howard, founder of the Evergreen Co-operative Initiative, told us what we could want, in a fabulous CLES, NewStart, Co-operativesUK and Hub Westminster event I chaired last night. For me the question he posed is so relevant to the task of regenerating failing places in the UK. The places which have received endless regeneration monies, have lost their economic purpose, and are searching for a new and vibrant future.

Voodoo economic development

I have written elsewhere that within local government, there is an emerging crisis in local economic thinking, policy and strategy. I believe, the government has some fragments of great ideas, and is straining to be radical, but its shrouded in austerity, there is slow progress and a disjuncture in logic. It’s voodoo economic development!