CLES Chief Executive seconded to Scottish Government to advance community wealth building

On 6th July 2020, The Chief Executive of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies will begin a part-time secondment to the Scottish Government to advance Community Wealth Building in Scotland.

Neil McInroy will work with a range of local, regional and national partners to guide practical, progressive action on local and regional economic recovery. The community wealth building approach will build on Scotland’s strong record on public procurement, fair work practices, and community power.

Neil McInroy commented:

“We are in challenging times, and as a proud Scot, I am excited and humbled by this opportunity to help grow and scale Community Wealth Building in Scotland. Having worked on this approach across localities in the UK and elsewhere for many years, I know that many of the elements for a successful Community Wealth Building approach are already in place in Scotland. Bringing them together with intent and action to help places, communities and national economy recover, is vital and urgent. 

I would like to thank the CLES board and colleagues as well as the Scottish Government and my new colleagues, in making this secondment happen.”

Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture in the Scottish government added:

“I am pleased to have Neil McInroy, the Chief Executive of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies, working with the Scottish Government on a part-time secondment to support the further roll-out of this work. I look forward to working with Neil and with local and regional partners across Scotland to embrace the full potential of the approach.”

Community wealth building is a model of local economic development which tackles the challenges of inequality and rejects the assumption, favoured by some economic development approaches, that once investment capital has been secured, wealth, jobs and opportunity will trickle down for all to share.

Community wealth building benefits local people and organisations by harnessing the combined power of communities, businesses and institutions to advance higher proportions of spending and investment in local economies. Key to this is the growth of “generative” businesses, which include local businesses, social enterprises and cooperatives which create wealth that is shared more broadly.

A growing movement, dozens of areas from Preston to Torbay, Brighton to Wigan and from North Ayrshire to Wirral are now working on community wealth building, and delivering benefits for their communities.



Notes for editors

Community Wealth Building is a people-centred approach to local economic development. It reorganises local economies to be fairer. It stops wealth flowing out of communities, towns and cities. Instead, it places control of this wealth into the hands of local people, communities, businesses and organisations.

The Community Wealth Building approach is built around 5 core principles:

  • Progressive Procurement – developing local supply chains of businesses likely to support local employment and retain wealth within communities.
  • Fair Employment and Just Labour Markets – Using anchor institutions to invest in and the improve prospects of local people.
  • Shared Ownership of the Local Economy – supporting and growing business models that are more likely to support the local economy.
  • Socially Just Use of Land and Property – reviewing the purpose and ownership of local assets held by anchor organisations, to maximise their benefit and use for communities.
  • Making Financial Power work for Local Places – increase flows of investment within local economies by harnessing and recirculating the wealth that exists.

More information on the theory behind the approach and its practical application can be found at the Community Wealth Building Centre of Excellence.