The function of local economic development needs to evolve. Understanding and working with the wealth of local anchor institutions is one way forward, says Matthew Jackson
Places across the UK are striving to find new ways of attracting wealth, enhancing economic growth and addressing poverty. For the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES), the attraction of wealth through inward investment is important; but of more importance is understanding and harnessing existing wealth for the benefit of local economies and communities.
Does the modern industrial strategy published this week offer the radical departure our economy requires? While the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (Cles) welcomes the first industrial strategy to be published in more than a generation, we are concerned it will do little to fundamentally alter the fortunes of the people and places that have been ravaged by each wave of industrial restructuring since the late 1970s.
At the Greater Manchester Social Value Network (GMSVN) we are seeking to ensure that social value is embedded in everything that Greater Manchester as a place does. That means social value being at the heart of Greater Manchester strategy and embedded in the DNA of the public sector, businesses and the voluntary and community sector.
After decades of oppressive centralisation, many of us have welcomed the promise of a ‘devolution revolution’ for our cities and Local Authorities. We have been expectant, that this will herald a new local municipalism of economic success and social inclusion. However, with ongoing global economic issues, Brexit, the Treasury’s economic model and the endless yoke of local authority austerity, we may need to seriously downgrade our expectations.
Brexit and ongoing economic and social troubles has exposed the choices. On the one hand, there is a progressive choice – greater inclusion, hope, social growth and a narrowing of the gap between the haves and the have-nots. On the other, there is a more reactionary choice – fear, more divisions, economic growth for a few, and a deepening hardship for many.
This article explores why procurement is increasingly being seen as a way of addressing some of the economic, social and environmental issues facing our cities. It does this through reflecting on: the legislative framework for procurement; the activities of the Procure network; the importance of understanding where procurement spend goes; and how social considerations can be more effectively embedded into procurement processes.
Birmingham City Council is joining with the Centre for Local Economic Strategies and Barrow Cadbury Trust to examine how anchor institutions can boost local economic opportunities. Neil McInroy and Matthew Jackson explain the approach and the need for a closer look at growth.
In her conference speech, Theresa May committed her government to achieving ‘an economy that works for everyone’. In this, she is touching on a point that many of us have known, and sought to respond to, for decades – that poverty and inequality persist, that this is unacceptable and that the prevailing economic model leaves too many people behind. The question is, how far is the government prepared to go in solving systemic poverty and inequality?
Devolution needs to get social. For too long the poor, low-paid and unemployed have been seen as a cost, with successive national policies seeking to reduce welfare budgets and cut spending on community activity. This is folly. Investing in the poor and society should be seen as investment in economic potential and productive capacity. Moving forward, this inversion of thinking and action has to be a key part of devolution.
For too long, we have either turned a blind eye to poverty and disadvantage or hoped that a general rising tide of economic wealth would trickle down. It’s time to reboot prevailing local economic policy – argues Neil McInroy – which is failing the poorest in society.
Devolution is a great opportunity. After years of oppressive centralisation, devolution deals offer local and combined authorities a chance to break free and forge their own distinctive economic and social destiny. Devolution is not, however, without significant risks and challenges. Our new joint paper ‘The Real Deal: Pushing the parameters of devolution deals’, a collaboration between the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) and the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI), explores the restrictions in the current devolution agenda, and presents ideas for new types of deals, heralding a more progressive devolution.
For too long we have either turned a blind eye to poverty and disadvantage or hoped that a general rising tide of economic wealth would trickle down. The vote to leave the EU has opened our eyes wide to the depths of disgruntlement and cast a strong light on the inadequacies of our economic model. We must now truly focus on how we forge a good local society and create an economy for all.
The University of Manchester and Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) play host to the Making Devolution Work conference next week. To mark the event CLES’s Chief Executive Neil McInroy writes the first of a series of blogs around the conference, examining what devolution could mean for the region and country.
Framed by austerity, the economic reality behind many voters choosing Brexit was a future of little promise – insecure jobs, insecure public provision, insecure futures. As a result, many leave voters felt that they had little or nothing to lose. On the back of an economic recession eight years ago, insecurity and a social recession has been built.
The EU referendum has shone a light on the failure of the treasury’s local economic and devolution model. The ‘devolution revolution’ may have beguiled some, but it has passed many by. The promised ‘northern powerhouse’ was a canny brand which few saw any tangible outcome from. Indeed, I know of many economic development practitioners who felt that austerity framed devolution and its bullish treasury-backed city agglomeration ‘growth at all costs’ approach was flawed. However, they rightly got on with it, longing for it to be just a start, and something to grapple, amend and make progressive.