coronavirus

  • Economic recovery and reform: the role of community power

    This article originally appeared in the MJ

    Long before the Covid-19 pandemic, our economy was failing many people and the planet. The imperative then was to create an economy that serves our needs, and shares wealth amongst as many people as possible. This imperative has only been amplified by the situation in which we now find ourselves. We believe the surge in community power in response to Covid-19 harbours the key to building back a better economy.

    The recent upsurge in social solidary has been impressive with millions of acts of kindness taking place every day. Within days of the NHS volunteer scheme being announced, over 750,000 people had signed up. The Covid-19 Mutual Aid movement has mobilised 2.5 million people across the UK who are now working with community groups to deliver emergency food parcels.

  • PROVOCATION

    From recovery...to reform

    20th May 2020
    ...
  • Time for local economic development to muscle up

    This article originally appeared in the Local Government Chronicle

    For some in the local economic development community there is talk of a post crisis “bounce back” – reflective of an idea that the economy is on a purely temporary freeze, but will eventually thaw, and whilst an unprecedented situation, we will get back to something akin to “normal”. While this may be comforting for some, it is fanciful. Instead, we are going to need a massive reset to our local economic development thinking and practice.

    We are experiencing irreversible structural and societal change. Our local economies are collapsing; we were trundling along with stagnant growth even before Covid-19 arrived and now a growing recession with unprecedented levels of business failure and unemployment is heading down the tracks. The economic and social geography of the crisis is emerging, and where before we may have had to battle local economic sluggishness and poverty, we will now be fighting dereliction and destitution.

    Recovery is a fork in the road

    This article originally appeared in the The MJ

    Over the last month we have seen local government accomplish things which just weeks before would have seemed the stuff of fantasy: a huge redeployment of staff and the repurposing of buildings, fleet and supply chains to supply critical goods and services; and the creation of new welfare, employment and business advice services to name but two.

    Changing lanes: urban mobility and the impact of Covid-19

    The impact of Covid-19 is changing the way we live, and upending orthodoxies at a blistering pace. This holds true for transport as it does for so much else. Recent regulation change is set to have significant impacts on the way many of us interact with – and travel across – the urban environment.

    By changing the rules around the advertising of traffic regulation orders, central government has now made it considerably easier for local authorities to impose car-free streets across the country. Whilst not noted in the new guidance itself, Chris Heaton-Harris, Minister of State for Transport, tweeted that the intention of this change is “to help local authorities that want to give cyclists and pedestrians more space on roads during the #coronavirus.

  • We need a generous state forever

    For years we have been told that expansive government intervention is not a feasible or desirable solution to our major social, economic and environmental ills.

    Yet, the unprecedented government intervention of the last three weeks has turned decades of orthodoxy on its head. The state, maligned for years by successive governments, is back. In this, it has re-assumed its fundamental purpose: to insure us against a life that is, as in Hobbes’ Leviathan, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”