Community wealth building

Community wealth building: a history

Today, CLES releases Community wealth building: a history, a transcript of our recent podcast, and the first publication under the banner of the recently-refreshed Community Wealth Building Centre of Excellence (CfX). Here, Tom Lloyd Goodwin explains why we felt that now was the time to delve deeper into the provenance of the approach.

Community wealth building reorganises local economies to ensure they are best placed to tackle the inequalities and disadvantages that are now, more than ever, so acutely felt by people across the UK. Over the course of the last decade, the movement has advanced from being a marginal sport. It has blossomed into a widely-adopted corrective to an economic model that has left too many people worse off, enriched the already wealthy few and propelled us further down the road to ecological disaster.
“this wider historical context contains a series of important lessons”
To celebrate this ever-flourishing movement, CLES recently released a podcast, looking at the provenance of the approach and, in this, we felt there was an important story to tell. A lot of people have heard about the “Preston model” but few are clear about its history, and how that relates to the movement we see now. Yet this wider historical context contains a series of important lessons.

Podcast: community wealth building – a history

This new podcast from CLES tells the story of the conceptual and practical origins of community wealth building, through the voices of thinkers and practitioners, from Clackmannanshire to Cleveland.

The first of two episodes to be released in the coming months, part two will explore the moment we are now in for local economic development, how that relates to community wealth building and the on-the-ground processes that are incrementally turning the dial towards system change.

Our Land 

Today we launch the final report of the Liverpool City Region Land Commission: Our Land. Reflecting the findings of England’s first Commission to review the use of land for community wealth building, the report argues that a new approach to land should put communities, not profit, at its heart. Below, CLES’s Isaac Stanley reflects on the Commission’s nimble approach and the radical recommendations found in the report. 

The Liverpool City Region Land Commission was launched in September 2020, at the initiative of Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram. Facilitated by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES), the Commission gathered together thirteen experts on democratic land reform, ranging from activists involved in community land trusts, makerspaces and social enterprise incubation to academics and national planning policy reformers and international campaigners for the commons.
“make this the fairest and most socially inclusive city region in the country”
They were invited to “think imaginatively and come back…with radical recommendations for how we can make the best use of publicly-owned land to make this the fairest and most socially inclusive city region in the country”. This report, prepared by CLES, is based on the deliberations and contributions of the Commissioners and presents their key findings and recommendations.  

  • FINDINGS

    Our land

    6th July 2021
    ...
  • Paint your town a rainbow

    This article originally appeared in the MJ

    Community wealth building is on the rise. As an intentional reorganisation of the local economy, to tackle inequality and disadvantage, it is needed now more than ever to address the significant challenges that are being felt so acutely in our homes and communities.

    Dating back to the mid noughties, CLES’s work on aspects of community wealth building have developed into a powerful corrective to an economic model that has left too many people worse off, enriched the already wealthy few and propelled us further down the road to ecological disaster.

    Local elections 2021: Ideas for new administrations

    This article originally appeared in The MJ.

    Economic recovery from COVID-19 will be a long and painful process. When the pandemic struck, we at CLES argued for a new common-sense approach to economic development based on the principles of community wealth building.

    From this emerged our plea for local government to muscle-up and embrace a series of key interventions to lead the charge to build back better. In our Own the future publication, we fleshed out a number of practical actions, which taken together, constitute an achievable vision for a just recovery and the social, democratic and economic reform of localities, led by local authorities.

    Reshaping ownership within adult social care

    Adult social care is broken. After years of marketisation and outsourcing we are left with a service where large market players dominate, particularly in areas such as nursing and residential care. Taxpayers’ money, and the savings of older people, are being extracted out of the system for shareholder gain. Today we release the new publication Reshaping ownership within adult social care. Here the report’s author, Tom Lloyd Goodwin, reflects on how ownership models must be shifted.

    There is now widespread political support to challenge ownership models within social care and to bring care homes, for example, back under state control. However, reshaping ownership within the sector will require a major new funding settlement, as well as a substantive and wide-ranging vision for reform

  • PROVOCATION

    Making levelling up a reality

    31st March 2021
    ...
  • Podcast: J. Phillip Thompson

    In this special episode, we are sharing J. Phillip Thompson’s keynote address from our Community Wealth Building Summit in November 2020.

    Phillip is the Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives in New York City and the author of Double Trouble: Black Mayors, Black Communities, and the Call for a Deep Democracy. In the podcast he explains his thoughts on the US election, the huge racial divides that are running rampant in the country, his plans for New York City and campaigns for community wealth building, rebuilding the post-COVID economy in a more equitable fashion, the problems in the current economic system in NYC, building an economy that suits the workers and communities across the US, and more.

    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.

    Driving community wealth and green jobs in Lewes

    This article originally appeared in The MJ.

    Green New Deals aren’t just for cash-flushed central Governments. In the last year, Lewes DC in East Sussex has been growing its own distinctive variety of green economic strategy.

    With a population of around 100,000, the district of Lewes offers something of a microcosm of economic divergence in the UK today.