Govt report backs Council's approach to Community Wealth Building
Posted on 25 Jun 2020
A major new report by Scottish Government advisors has backed North Ayrshire Council’s innovative new economic model.
The findings from the Scottish Government’s Advisory Group on Economic Recovery, published this week, also highlights major regional inequalities across Scotland.
The 77-page report, which tries to plot the best economic path forward post Covid-19, calls for the Scottish Government to support ‘a renewed focus on place based initiatives on Community Wealth Building’.
It also supports the Council’s view that economic recovery needs to have a focus on places to deal with regional inequalities in Scotland.
In May 2020, North Ayrshire Council launched Scotland’s first Community Wealth Building (CWB) strategy, with the Council hailed as a ‘beacon of hope’ when putting forward a bold new economic model to support the region’s recovery.
Essentially CWB is about working in partnership with communities and businesses to build a more resilient economy that works for local people, which supports fair work, encourages local spend by public bodies, uses the land and property the public sector owns for the common good, and supports new ownership models such as co-operatives, all of which helps to keep the wealth generated local.
In their written submission to the Scottish Government Advisory Group on Economic Recovery, the Council made a number of points including:
• that the health emergency has called into question current economic practice and highlights the importance of creating a new economic model, focused on wellbeing and inclusion. A focus solely on enhancing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as an output at a national level is not sufficient to recognise the wider levels of economic, social and environmental wellbeing across our communities.
• investment decisions should be allocated on the basis of need to achieve an inclusive economy, supporting longer term objectives like the reduction of poverty and inequality and the creation of fair jobs, rather than being focused on short term economic gains.
•provide funding for local job schemes and job creation initiatives which, where possible, should create ‘green jobs’ and ensure a just transition
•explore how national body and agency spend can be used to support local economies, particularly fragile regions, through more local spend and the creation of local supply chains. Businesses supplying the public sector should be given a ‘social license to operate’ and show commitment to fair work, net zero, place and building local supply chains
•support and promote the development of local production and shorter supply chains as a tool to aid recovery across sectors and achieve net zero
Councillor Joe Cullinane, Leader of North Ayrshire Council and Cabinet Member for Community Wealth Building said: “We welcome that the Advisory Group recognises the value in Community Wealth Building approaches to economic recovery.
“Their report also highlights the stark regional inequalities in Scotland with areas like North Ayrshire being left behind even before the major economic recession that we are currently experiencing.
“The current economic model is broken, we need an alternative to build back better and Community Wealth Building is an important part of that alternative.
“But we must act now if we are to create a better economy, and we must not repeat the mistakes of 2008 when the economy was simply allowed to return to business as usual after the financial crash.
“If we are to achieve a wellbeing economy, which the report advocates and the Scottish Government says it wants to do, then we should support local Green New Deals to ensure a just transition, create fair green jobs and a circular economy to tackle the Climate Emergency.
“The Scottish Government must urgently act upon the report’s recommendations and prepare the Scottish economy for the recession we are about to face, with an investment led plan for a green, inclusive economic recovery that supports Community Wealth Building. A business as usual approach to recovery would be unacceptable.
“We are ready to play our part in delivering Community Wealth Building locally and regionally to achieve wellbeing and inclusion and to combat climate change.”