Putting the community in community wealth building 

Last week I had the honour of delivering the opening keynote presentation at the Third Sector Interface Scotland (TSI) Network conference. This was their first in person conference since before the onset of Covid-19, and the magnitude of the many challenges the third sector in Scotland has faced in recent years was never far from my mind throughout the day.  

The legacy of harsh austerity policies, a global pandemic and continued economic uncertainty (globally and closer to home as we have seen with the recent Scottish political upheaval) have all tested our communities’ resilience in ways we’ve never known before. But what was heartening to hear from delegates at the conference was how the third sector has continually risen to these various challenges. 
“a large and significant economic force”
At the height of the pandemic, the TSI Network was able to support the third sector as it responded, at pace, to the difficult conditions which were faced in our places. This raised the profile of the sector, with local groups, with their unique insights into local conditions, on hand to mobilise and deliver services where the public sector struggled to reach. Beyond the exceptional circumstances of the pandemic, recent research has shown the significant impact the third sector has on the Scottish economy overall, in terms of employment, volunteering and economic spend. With income generated totalling over £8.5bn per annum, the sector is a large and significant economic force in the Scottish economy.  

Building Community Wealth in Scotland

Our response to the Scottish Government’s consultation

As Sarah Longlands shared at the end of March, we have been delighted to be able to work with partners and friends across Scotland over the last few months to understand their views on the Government’s proposals for a Community Wealth Building Bill.

This legislations would be a powerful step forward in enabling the democratisation of our economy and would be progressive global first – that it could happen so close to home is immensely exciting. The government’s consultation closed on Tuesday this week and below we share our responses to the questions posed. We would be delighted to hear your thoughts too – please do get in touch if you would like to discuss any aspects of our response, the items under consultation or the development of community wealth building in Scotland or anywhere else.

The brave

Four lessons from Scotland in delivering community wealth

At the close of the 2021 Community Wealth Building Summit, we reflect on remarks by our opening keynote speaker Tom Arthur MSP and the work that CLES has undertaken with the Scottish government over the last 12 months. The lessons learned should resonate with governments of all scales in Scotland and the wider community wealth building movement.

In his opening remarks to this week’s Community Wealth Building Summit, Tom Arthur MSP argued that community wealth building provided an “opportunity to approach economic development in a new way” in order to help create “common prosperity”. As the Scottish Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth, Mr Arthur has put community wealth building at the forefront of his agenda arguing that it needs to sit across government, providing a “whole system approach” to an inclusive economy. He also confirmed the Scottish government’s intention to introduce a Community Wealth Building Bill during this parliament, to consolidate changes in practice and enable local anchor organisations to use their economic leverage to deliver more for local people and communities.

  • Community wealth building in Scotland

    This post originally appeared on the website of Scotland’s Centre for Regional Inclusive Growth.

    Inclusive economic growth is a key aspiration for Scotland, as set out in the country’s Economic Strategy. Scotland aims to grow a sustainable and successful economy whilst tackling inequalities. To realise these aspirations, the fast-moving community wealth building movement offers a practical, common sense local place approach.

    The community wealth building approach starts with a strong focus on wealth. We know that Scotland is a relatively wealthy country, however wealth here has grown much faster than income. This disparity has disproportionately benefitted older people. Those born in the second half of the 1970s have a third less wealth than those born in the first five years. Furthermore, wealth distribution is geographically and socially uneven, with the top 10% owning a staggering 200 times more wealth than the bottom 10% (a median wealth of £1.3m compared to £6,000). Indeed, the wealthiest 10% own 43% of all wealth in Scotland, with the least wealthy 40% only owning 5%[i].

  • Places have relationships

    CLES has been working as part of a consortium with Carnegie UK Trust, University of Stirling and the Scottish Towns Partnership. Commissioned and funded by Carnegie UK Trust and the Scottish Government, the consortium have now devised the UK’s first and unique online tool, which has facts and figures for all 479 towns and cities across Scotland.