Britain’s industrial communities can also be part of the solution to narrowing the widening north-south divide. They just require the right policies from government to enable their potential to be realised.
April 2014 - NewStart
Perhaps a radical rethinking of what urban space is, and what it means to us, is a crucial part of the process that will help reduce the toxicity of our cities.
A new report offers many practical examples of how clauses inserted into any public procurement contract can require the contractor to provide targeted training and job opportunities, which can be focused on poor people and poor places. And these mechanisms comply with UK and European procurement rules.
We must make the case for the long term benefits of citizen-centric services in the light of massive financial and demand constraints to come. Otherwise the only relationships worth talking about in future will be the increasing distance of public services and the public they are set up to support.
With the scrapping of the social fund and the confusion around budgeting advances under universal credit more people risk having to visit high cost credit lenders just to get by. But No Interest Loan Schemes offer an alternative to that. With a look at how they work in Australia, more local authorities in the UK could build support for this lifeline.
There needs to be a clear statement - and this is one we are keen to make from a local authority perspective - that further funding is needed to support Wales in developing an outstanding range of social enterprises delivering services by and for the community.
For me, the big lesson from the growing evidence base is something ridiculously grand about the importance, and important interrelationship, of social and economic inclusion. They are two sides of a coin that drives sustainable growth.
Despite several government-funded initiatives in recent years, the scale of credit unions and community development finance institutions (CDFIs) remains woefully inadequate to provide any real brake on the inexorable growth of the legal loan sharks.
For all the talk of reform, little has changed in our banking system. So, rather than relying on big finance to get us out of this mess, why don’t we give small, local, community finance a go?
Finance is at the heart of local change. The most resilient local economies are those in which money flows around a community, through progressive procurement and support for local services and businesses. Here’s ten of the best ideas from around the world for helping keep finance local.