Community wealth building summit

Summit 2020: A more economically democratic recovery

New year, new economy! As we adjust to the bright lights of 2021 the CLES team are looking forward and exploring the prospect of local economic reform as we commence the long journey to Covid-19 recovery. In this spirit we’re sharing write ups of our policy breakout sessions from November’s Community Wealth Building Summit. In the last of this blog series Rachel Bentley considers how the economy can be more broadly held through plural ownership models.

Even before Covid-19, the UK was already one of the most unequal countries in the world in terms of both income and wealth. This trajectory of inequality has been worsening for decades and the pandemic has now both revealed and exacerbated these inequalities. As we face an era of business failure and unemployment that will be compounded by Brexit, what role can plural ownership play in fostering a more economically democratic recovery?
“enable wealth created by communities to be held by them, rather than flowing outwards”
Plural ownership of the economy is one of the five pillars of community wealth building. This pillar seeks to promote locally owned and socially minded enterprises. It encourages more diverse models of enterprise ownership that enable wealth created by communities to be held by them, rather than flowing outwards into the pockets of distant shareholders.

Summit 2020: Procurement for economic reform

Ding dong, 2020 is nearly over and we here at CLES are thinking about hope in the darkness and the prospect of local economic reform as we commence the long journey to Covid-19 recovery. In this spirit we’re sharing write ups of our policy breakout sessions from November’s Community Wealth Building Summit. Today Amanda Stevens looks at the role of progressive procurement in supporting local employment and recirculating wealth and surplus locally.

In this interesting session there was broad agreement by the panel and delegates that a change in perceptions about procurement is needed: procurement professionals should be encouraged to think beyond bureaucratic and technical considerations and to consider procurement as a lever to address economic, social and environmental challenges.

Summit 2020: Land and assets for resilience

With only two days left of 2020, we here at CLES are thinking about hope in the darkness and the prospect of local economic reform as we commence the long journey to Covid-19 recovery. In this spirit we’re sharing write ups of our policy breakout sessions from November’s Community Wealth Building Summit. Following on from John and Ellie’s blogs, today Stuart MacDonald looks at how socially productive uses of land, property and assets can support post Covid-19 local economies.

How land and property assets are owned and managed is key to local economic outcomes. Concentrated land ownership, property speculation and landlord absenteeism all drive inequality. Wealth gained from land and property leaks out of local economies, contributing to a lack of resilience, as well as being incompatible with social and environmental progress.

Summit 2020: Collaborate like mad

Before 2020 draws to a close, we here at CLES are thinking about hope in the darkness and the prospect of local economic reform as we commence the long journey to Covid-19 recovery. In this spirit we’re sharing write ups of our policy breakout sessions from November’s Community Wealth Building Summit. Following yesterday’s blog from John Heneghan on labour market reform, Eleanor Radcliffe reflects on the discussion on making financial power work for local places.

Finance is one of the core pillars of community wealth building, the life blood of our local businesses and crucial when considering the future of our local economies. However, the UK’s banking sector is currently orientated to global markets, not local investment and development and in recent years we have seen a stagnation of lending to local businesses and increasing disconnection from local communities. With a sector that was already not fit for purpose prior to Covid-19, the pandemic has been a reminder of how badly served our local economies are by the financial sector and has resulted in an increasing consciousness of the challenges faced by local businesses trying to operate and compete with larger firms.

Summit 2020: Moving forward on labour market reform

As we draw to the close of this most turbulent year, we here at CLES are thinking about hope in the darkness and the prospect of local economic reform as we commence the long journey to Covid-19 recovery. In this spirit we’re sharing write ups of our policy breakout sessions from November’s Community Wealth Building Summit. First up, John Heneghan shares his reflections on our session on the role of labour market reform.

Our Summit session on explored the need for labour market reform in the context of Covid-19. This wide ranging and thought-provoking session explored the potential for anchor institutions to drive community wealth building approaches to create a fairer and more equitable labour market through workforce initiatives, procurement and supply chain activities and employment and skills support.
“the labour market positives experienced in the early stages of the pandemic […] need to be locked in”
Mary Robertson, Senior Policy Officer at the TUC, argued that, while the labour market positives experienced in the early stages of the pandemic – a greater demonstration of the importance of key workers, the power of state intervention, the recognition that things can be done differently and the scope for home and flexible working. – need to be locked in, overwhelmingly the impacts of the pandemic on workers have been negative, creating huge challenges.

Community Wealth Building 2020: an urgent imperative

Quite apart from its traditional historical significance, Thursday 5th November represents a milestone for the UK in the country’s fight against Covid-19. As a second lockdown looks set to compound economic and social hardship, we are again reminded of the distressed state of our local economies and the weakened condition of the local public sector in parts of the country, following decades of austerity and underinvestment. The imperative to deliver an alternative future is now more urgent than ever.

This Thursday, CLES will host our annual Community Wealth Building Summit and, ahead of the Summit, we are today releasing Owning the Economy: Community Wealth Building 2020.

Reflections on the Community Wealth Building Summit

Back in the office at the start of a new week, the CLES team is fired with an enthusiasm that only comes with successfully bringing 200 dedicated activists and changemakers together. As we push on to drive further actions and outcomes, the team has taken some time to offer three quick-fire reflections of our own from the day about what #cwbis to us…