Barclays launch ‘thriving local economies’ scheme

 Barclays has announced a major new five-year programme to support local economies and boost growth.

According to Barclays, The Building Thriving Local Economies scheme has been launched to help ensure that ‘every part of the country can fulfil its potential and inform what companies like Barclays can do to help economies to thrive.’

They have picked four geographically different areas to run pilots, where the bank will work with local authorities, academics, schools and business groups.

As an example of a small town, they will run their first pilot will be in Bury, Greater Manchester.

The other three areas, which have not been announced yet, will include a metropolitan borough, a rural community and a coastal area.

In each pilot area, Barclays will undertake research and use data to better understand the local economy’s strengths and challenges.

The bank will share findings with the local authority, school leaders, business groups and others to build insight and shape actions that they will take in the community.

In Bury, Demos Projects and Barclays will be working closely with Bury Metropolitan Borough Council, local schools and colleges, local businesses and business groups.

Barclays will begin the scheme in the town by providing a ‘bespoke’ version of the bank’s LifeSkills programme, which they say has already helped over 6.7 million young people in the UK, tailored to the local community.

Launching the programme at Castlebrook High School in Bury yesterday (September 20), Ashok Vaswani, Barclays UK CEO, said: ‘At a time of economic uncertainty, we need to ensure that every part of the UK can thrive in order that our whole country can prosper.

‘We see pockets of high growth in our major cities but more needs to be done to support towns like Bury to become stronger engines of local and national prosperity.

‘There is no single lever that national governments or central banks can pull to drive economic growth. I truly believe that our future economic success will be driven by people in places like Bury. We need to look at how we build a thriving economy ‘from the local up’ not from the national down.’

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: ‘I can’t wait to see how the work in Bury progresses. I am pleased by the commitment that Barclays is showing to Bury with their Thriving Local Economies initiative.

‘A three-year partnership with businesses, schools and the Local Authority will, I hope, see the community continue to thrive. I wish all concerned the best.’

Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter


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