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.