The devolution of the social fund is an opportunity for local areas to pool their resources and provide funding and support systems for the long-term resilience of residents, as Nicola Steuer explains.
Nicola Steuer, Author at NewStart
Rather than simply focus on driving up productivity and encouraging everyone to work longer hours now is the time to examine the case for a shorter and more flexible working week in the UK, where paid work is redistributed as part of a wider drive towards tackling inequalities.
Putting money into the pockets of those who need it most is vital but these measures alone will not address the root causes of social injustice.
We need to ask, and in time answer, whether our politicians, our public services, and our own lifestyles build relationships through fostering a sense of trust and belonging, or corrode them?
Within the context of greater decentralisation, the core cities (and others) now have the opportunity to grasp new economic techniques and to play a lead role in ensuring the resilience and effectiveness of their local economy.
The UK government seems to miss the fact that energy policy needs to seen in the context of advancing human security and economic resilience. Although clearly important, energy security is about more than consistency in fuel supply. It underpins the resilience of the UK economy, influences human wellbeing and affects our democracy.
Front-loading spending cuts onto local authorities so that they have to either sell land to developers or radically scale back the upkeep of parks and green spaces is a far cry from the localism many of us would like to see pursued.
The UK continues to fare comparatively poorly on a number of indices measuring both material and psycho-social wellbeing. It is the fourth most unequal country in the western world. In Europe, the UK is at the bottom of the pile on almost every preventable social problem – including crime, mental ill health, family breakdown, drug abuse and obesity.
How can we keep money circulating in our local economies while at the same time incentivising and rewarding positive social and environmental action?
My view is we need to develop and pursue an intentional economic development strategy at a national level. An industrial strategy or ‘good jobs’ plan, if you like.