Poverty

  • Neil McInroy

    Chief Executive

  • On the front line of social change – the importance of community businesses in community wealth building

    If you want to see community wealth building in action, come to Liverpool 8.

    There you will find The Florence Institute – known to all around as The Florrie – a vibrant community hub housed in an imposing Grade II listed Victorian building. Since being restored by local activists in 2012, The Florrie has been a space of empowerment for local residents – building wealth by offering jobs and projects to support those most in need.
    “Community businesses play a crucial role in community wealth building by enabling a more plural ownership of the economy”
    It was therefore a fitting venue for last week’s launch of CLES’ latest research on behalf of the Power to Change Research Institute – Building an inclusive economy: the role of social capital and agency in community business in deprived communitiesThe report looked at how community businesses can support the development of more inclusive economies in deprived areas. Using three case studies (north Hull, west Smethwick, and south Liverpool), CLES has spent the last year seeking to understand how varying forms of social capital are needed to help seed a vibrant local community business scene.

    The Rich List reveals that we need wealth for all

    The spectacle of this year’s Sunday Times Rich List has revealed, yet again, that Britain’s richest are getting richer still. Published yesterday, the list shows that Britain’s 1,000 richest individuals and families are sitting on record wealth of £771.3bn, up £47.8bn in a year. The UK’s billionaire count has climbed to 151, up six on last year. The threshold at which the super-rich make the list has risen £5m to £120m.[1]

    In other news (from the same paper on the same day) we learn that an emergency food bank has been set up in the Whitehall offices of a government department, after cleaners and other support staff became the victims of a payroll blunder by one of Britain’s biggest outsourcing companies.[2] The human cost of this incident adds to the growing number of people in the UK who cannot afford basic needs such as food.[3]

    Rebuilding the local economy in Britain’s Seaside Towns

    If ever there was an example that epitomises the misery imposed by market neo-liberalism, it’s the plight of Britain’s seaside towns.

    Decades of agglomeration has led to the incubation of ‘superstar cities’ such as Manchester, leaving places like Blackpool and Rhyl deprived and depleted. As CLES reported on in 2017,  the last vestiges of their seaside heritage are now enveloped by a coil of ever-tightening social and economic decline.

  • Whatever happened to economic development?

    Budget day for the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) used to be one of intrigue and relative excitement. In the 2000s, the Budget was supplemented by a specific annex focused on economic development and regeneration. Indeed, the Budget was where we saw exciting new renewal initiatives announced; reviews of sub-national economic development formulated; and new duties and funding initiated.

    We must accelerate the alternatives

    The economic crisis has turned into a social crisis and local economic policy is failing.  Poverty, inequality, affordability of housing, low wages, insecure work are now ingrained in our cities.  We need a new radical urbanism so that we address these issues and deliver better social outcomes at scale.

    However, there is an irony.  There is no shortage of wealth in our cities.  Whilst a few people and areas enjoy the huge benefits of economic success, many people and areas do not. Take a walk from any city centre.  Once you leave the global chain stores, buzzy restaurants, glorious public spaces, new urban living and high end retail, you will get to the district centres.  In these places, there is a different story.  You cannot always see the poverty and despair, as many areas have undergone a physical regeneration, but the signs are there.  Speak to people or an NGO and the daily hardship of surviving on low wages, youth unemployment and increasing housing costs, become evident.  This is not acceptable.  The future has to be about making existing and new wealth work better for local people and communities.

  • RESEARCH

    Tackling Poverty Locally

    21st October 2016
    ...
  • Tackling Poverty Locally

    Neil McInroy wrote this article for New Statesman. As part of the ‘Forging a good local society: tackling poverty through a local economic reset’ research work for Webb Memorial Trust

    Solving poverty: the promise of inclusive growth?

    In her conference speech, Theresa May committed her government to achieving ‘an economy that works for everyone’. In this, she is touching on a point that many of us have known, and sought to respond to, for decades – that poverty and inequality persist, that this is unacceptable and that the prevailing economic model leaves too many people behind. The question is, how far is the government prepared to go in solving systemic poverty and inequality?

  • RESEARCH

    Forging a good local society

    27th July 2016
    For too long, we have either turned a blind eye to poverty and disadvantage or hoped that a general rising tide of economic wealth...
  • Forging a good local society

    For too long we have either turned a blind eye to poverty and disadvantage or hoped that a general rising tide of economic wealth would trickle down. The vote to leave the EU has opened our eyes wide to the depths of disgruntlement and cast a strong light on the inadequacies of our economic model. We must now truly focus on how we forge a good local society and create an economy for all.