Supporting inclusive economic growth
Cooperative Councils and Community Wealth Building
Lewisham Council, Preston Council
Preston Council has developed ‘Community Wealth Building’, which aims to build a more inclusive model of economic growth in Preston and the surrounding area. Since winning back control of the council in 2011, Preston Labour has been transforming the council’s procurement culture to make it a driver of social value.
Drawing on work in areas including in nearby Manchester and Cleveland in the US, Preston is working with anchor institutions such as the local university to encourage the development of supply chains that benefit the local economy. Between 2013 and 2017 it helped to increase the amount of procurement spend retained within Preston by £74m and within the wider Lancashire area by £200m, supporting local businesses and local jobs. All contracts let were on a fully commercial basis – they have not paid any additional premium for buying locally.
A leading member of the Cooperative Councils Network, Preston Council also established the Guild Co-operative Network to promote the ideas of co-operation, and more recently have created the Preston Co-operative Development Network (PCDN), modelled on Spanish cooperatives. New worker co-operatives are now being formed, and a successful food distribution co-op has also been set up. They have also established the first UK inner urban area Neighbourhood Council, handing over planning and other powers to the local level and helped the group secure significant implementation funding from the Big Lottery. In recognition of these and other steps which the council has been taking, Preston was recognised as the most improved city in the UK in the 2018 PWC/Demos ‘Good Growth for Cities’ annual report.
Mayor Damien Egan of Lewisham Council has also adopted principles of community wealth building, by creating the ‘Lewisham Deal’ – a common commitment across local anchor institutions to tackle poverty and promote inclusive local growth. The Council is now working together with partners to increase spending in the local economy, to create more apprenticeships, and to support residents into work. Over 120 independent businesses attended a Meet the Buyer event, which will be held annually. The events will be held annually as part of Lewisham’s efforts to boost local spending and support the local economy.
Find out more about the Cooperative Councils Network at: https://www.councils.coop