Community Wealth Building is about ensuring that workers are paid a Living Wage, that employers invest in skills and training, that financial institutions invest in the productive economy rather than financial speculation and it is about exploring alternative methods of economic organisation and economic governance.
How it shows
Getting organised; using the power inherent in the council to mobilise resources focussing on four main elements;
- Wealth that's there - harnessing the power of the money that anchor institutions are spending on procuring goods and services. Aiming to localise as much of that spend as possible, securing investment in local supply chains and improving local economic competitiveness
- Workforce - maximising the benefits of investment in staff by building a skilled and committed workforce and providing an exemplar to local businesses. Paying at least the Living Wage to all employees and encouraging staff to spend local and save local, including through Credit Unions.
- Land, Property and Investments - using anchor institution assets to lever in additional investment, to encourage the development of new businesses and support new methods of financial intermediation. To consider asset transfer to community or private sector interests where this best serves the interests of the wider community.
- Economic democracy - supporting the growth of alternative models of economic governance which give citizens greater investment in and control over their economic future. This can mean the development of new co-operatives as well as other ways of helping people feel ownership of assets and decision-making processes.
Good process and Wide Engagement - this is taken from the Preston Council Website
- We 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) which is based on the principles of the Mondragon co-operatives in Spain.
- PCDN evolved out of discussion between the council, local co-operators and other partners following a piece of research carried out by the University of Central Lancashire looking at the way in which principles of co-operation were being applied at the community and neighbourhood level in Preston.
- New worker co-operatives are now being formed, with more to come (digital and food) and a successful food distribution co-op has also been established.
- We have partnered with Co-ops UK to promote the concept of succession planning, employee buy-outs of businesses whose owners may be thinking of closing the business on retirement, including the production of a detailed, how to guide.
- We have 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.
- We are working with colleagues from the University of Central Lancashire on an RSA-linked programme called Connected Communities which aims to train community researchers to initiate and support neighbourhood activities without the need for public sector oversight.
- We are working with Citizens UK to establish a local Preston and Lancashire franchise. Under the Citizens UK approach local authorities cannot be members or funders of local groups who take autonomous decisions on activities around which group activities are focussed.
- As mentioned early we are working with the Hampshire Community Bank, the RSA and other partners to promote the concept of a new regional bank, either established on a community trust or a co-operative model. This is both to meet local citizen and business banking and investment needs and to develop alternative models of economic governance.