covid-19

  • 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
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  • 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.

  • FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION

    Rescue, recover, reform

    20th April 2020
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  • DISCUSSION PAPER

    Owning the future

    20th April 2020
    ...
  • 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.”

  • We are nothing if we are not together

    This article originally appeared in the Local Government Chronicle

    The Covid-19 pandemic has destabilised our present and will profoundly affect our social, economic and political future. Whilst we do not know how events will progress, we can be sure that things will never be the same again. There will be no going back.

    The immediate government response must be to tackle the public health crisis, shore up businesses and the economy and help people with their personal and family finances. However, other recent crises – the financial crisis of 2008, the ongoing climate emergency – have made clear that we are ill-equipped to deal with systemic shocks. Longstanding flaws and cracks, which have been papered over for years, have now been blown apart by this virus. Our society – despite having made stunning technical advances and delivered unprecedented concentrations of wealth – has been overstretched for many years.