The Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) is today launching a manifesto setting out how to create local economies that serve all sections of society. Britain is in a significant moment of constitutional, social, economic, environmental and cultural change. As such we need policy responses which are equal to it.
Local enterprise partnerships are dominated by large businesses to the detriment of growth in our communities. Small businesses account for 47% of the UK’s private sector employment and around a third of turnover, but they are being left out of the loop when it comes to shaping and nurturing local economic growth.
The Centre for Local Economic Strategies and the Federation of Small Businesses are calling on the government to take a fresh look at the role of local enterprise partnerships (LEPs).
The word ‘economy’ can be traced back to the Greek word oikonomos, – ‘one who manages a household’. However, the idea that the economy is intimate and social is often lost from modern day economic discussions. Indeed, all too often the social sphere, is seen as an assumed outcome of economic activity, rather than a planned for and locked-in necessity.
This connectedness with the social sphere should be central to any local economic development. What is the point of local economic development if it does not deliver social outcomes or address poverty? In this we need to think about building a local civil economy – an economy which is decent, fair and works for people.
CLES offered Belfast City a series of recommendations as to how they could maximise the impact of their spend. Whilst directly a result of a specific study, we also feel that these recommendations are applicable to other authorities and institutions.